An amateur scientist has allowed the world's most venomous snakes to bite him 160 times over 16 years in an attempt to find a general antivenom derived from humans. Tim Friede, from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, has been bitten by cobras, black mambas, taipans and rattlesnakes.
The 37-year-old claims that his quest is making him immune to snake venoms, and according to the latest Dr Brian Hanley, a microbiologist from the University of California, tests show Tim now has twice the number of antibodies in his body as expected. He videos the bites from the snakes, which often live in his house, and apparently he began his "research" as a hobby.
In one of his recent videos, he was bitten by a black mamba and a taipan – the most venomous snake in the world – back-to-back.
Unsurprisingly the father-of-two has had some close calls, in 2011, he fell into a coma and nearly died after two cobra bites.
Due to his obsession with getting bitten in October last year his wife left him saying that she was tired of living with a houseful of snakes. "I have a Mojave rattlesnake, water cobras, taipan, black mamba and western diamondback rattlesnake — and I can take a bite from all of them," he said according to the Times.
Snake venom kills around 100,000 people worldwide each year but exposure to their venom confers immunity by causing the body to develop antibodies against the poison. Friede began injecting himself years ago and has gradually increased the dosage.
"I will not stop doing this until the vaccine is in the field or I die," he said according to the Independent. Antivenoms are available but are expensive and difficult to produce meaning most of the majority of bite victims, often living in the developing world, struggle to get treatment.
For example CroFab, made to help with viper bites, sells for $2,000 (£1,400) a vial. It works by harvesting venom in North America, injected into sheep in Australia and processed in Wales.
Mr Friede said of his experiments: "I've just cut the horse out of the picture. I've become the horse." Obviously, experts warn people to not let any snake bite you because your life will be in danger.