False positives may lead to waste of antivenom stocks

Associate Professor Bryan Fry, from the University of Queensland, said previous findings showing cross-reaction between python saliva and detection kits were considered anomalies.

But his study found pythons’ oral glands, which secrete mucous to aid in swallowing large prey, also contain ‘relic’ venom, which could lead to patients being inappropriately treated and antivenom stocks wasted.

Detection kits should be used to guide selection of antivenom, not for diagnosis, he