Yesterday a few lucky students were able to visit the Butantan Institution, where, among many things, vaccines for deadly illnesses and poisons are manufactured. Once a small farm, Butantan has become one of the biggest suppliers of vaccines and anti-toxins to the Health Minister in Brazil, and has become one of the most premier research institutions in the country. What’s truly amazing is the amount of time and resources that are dedicated to advancing science and the world of medicine to benefit the overall health and safety of the people of Brazil.

One of the many snakes found at Butantan!

In a smaller group, I was able to tour a building dedicated to caring for and researching both indigenous and international species of venomous snakes. Each day, employees like Lukas “the Snake Guy” (one of his many honorary titles) care for over 500 snakes, extracting venom, feeding, and devoting hours of time to their care, ensuring that each animal is treated with the utmost respect and humanity. Because of the enormous amount of time people like Lukas “the Snake Guy” dedicate to caring for these animals, thousands of lives have been saved from deadly snake bites with the antidotes manufactured by their research.

My tour group with Lukas “the Snake Guy”!

Often we do not thinking about vaccines and modern medicine that we’ve received throughout our lives, especially those who are blessed enough to come from areas where modern medicine is readily available. However, after visiting Butanta I realized that there are actual people dedicating precious time and resources to protect for me from deadly diseases. These vaccines did not just magically appear inside my doctor’s office. In reality, someone, somewhere spent time researching and developing the newest way to provide protection and safety for citizens all over the world. It made me stop and appreciate what a blessing modern medicine is and give thanks to God for all those who work together for the good of people everywhere.

Categories: Brazil 2019


Amy Kovach · May 23, 2019 at 4:23 pm

This visit sounds amazing! Wow! We are blessed with modern medicine because of institutions like this.

<3 Dr. Kovach

Carrie Starr · May 24, 2019 at 2:40 pm

What an amazing experience and such a valuable opportunity to learn and appreciate the work of others. Travel is such a gift to see how interconnected our seemingly separate worlds are! So grateful you are having this unique experience!

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