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Redback anti-venom doesn’t work

Anti-venom developed to treat the acutely painful bite of the redback spider has been shown to offer little or no benefit.

Geoff Isbister, a clinical toxicologist at the Calvary Mater hospital in Newcastle, New South Wales, broke the news at a conference in Dubai on 19 November.

Redback spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) occur only in Australia, and are responsible for the majority of hospital treatments for poisonous spider bites. Patients can experience severe pain for around 24 hours, with nausea, vomiting and headaches. Anti-venom has been available since 1956.

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