Remember when you saw Kill Bill Volume 2, the one where Darryl Hannah’s character narrated the facts about the dangers of a black mamba snake while Michael Madsen suffered an agonizing death, and a black mamba felt like the deadliest creature in the entire world? (Then Kobe Bryant gave himself the nickname “Black Mamba” and didn’t acknowledge he took it from the movie and it was super weird?)
Well black mambas are really dangerous; they are almost guaranteed death of the painful kind. Unless you’re the “Venom Guy,” and have spent years developing an immunity to the world’s deadliest, most venomous snakes.
This story from Barcroft TV introduces us to Tim Friede of Wisconsin, a man without an actual lab or any funding, who has dedicated his life to finding a human vaccine for snake venom partly by personally taking over 160 snake bites over 16 years.
“I will not stop doing this until the vaccine is in the field, or I die.” Apparently he’s been close to the second option a few times, including flat lining after taking two cobra bites on one occasion, but he has achieved a level of success, as he displayed here by taking back-to-back bites from two killer snakes, first the infamous black mamba and then a taipan. Without any intervention or medical care, he lived to tell the tale.
“Right now I’m the only person in the world who can do what you just saw.”
Yup, and also the only person eager to do it too.
He didn’t start with direct bites of course, he spent years injecting himself with controlled doses that allowed him to build his immunity over time. If anyone else on the planet took those two bites, or even just one without immediate medical care, it would be a death sentence.
This is hard to watch, and his commitment to his passion eventually became too much for his wife, who divorced him last October after 20 years of marriage, but it hasn’t been for naught, and the scientific community has taken notice.
Friede works with Dr. Brian Hanley, a University of California microbiologist, and Dr. Hanley says the results are undeniable. “Arguing with Tim’s results–it’s like arguing the sky is blue. It needs work, but it’s real, and it fits what we know about immunology. There’s no conflict here.” Minus the part where he does it alone and might die at any time if something goes wrong.
Hanley’s company, Butterfly Sciences, is working with Friede to develop that vaccine Friede vows to find no matter the cost, and to also find funding to help get it into the hands of people who work and live in places where deadly snakes pose a danger.
It’s quite admirable that someone, without any formal training and only a high school degree, would be willing to make such a great sacrifice to create something that would undoubtedly do a lot of good, but it’s also hard to see that person go through so much physical, and ultimately, emotional pain to achieve the ends.
What do you think of Tim Friede and his quest? This is obviously a complicated story, so we want to hear what you have to say about it in our comments below.
Images: Barcroft TV