A many-banded krait, a high venomous snake. Photo: iStock

A 21-year-old Chinese woman was declared brain dead two days after being bitten by a highly venomous snake she bought online in China.

On July 9, a woman living in Weinan in Shaanxi province was sent to hospital after she was bitten on her left hand by a many-banded krait, one of the most venomous snakes in the country, The Beijing News reported. She bought the snake online.

The woman was in a coma when hospitalized and her heart stopped beating during medical treatment. Six hours after the woman was bitten, the hospital found a serum and injected her with it. The hospital later received another four doses of the serum from hospitals in Shanghai.

However, the serum failed to cure the woman, who had been put on a machine to help her breathe. On July 11, she was declared brain dead by doctors at the hospital. She was sent home connected to a machine to help her breathe while her parents have given up seeking more medical treatment for her.

According to the police, the woman told the snake seller she would use the animal to make wine. But she kept the snake as a pet.

Dried snakes for wine-making Photo: JD.com

In China, some people buy dried snakes which are added to wine. Some believe the concoction is good for the health.

The incident triggered an online debate about whether the Chinese government should step up efforts to curb the online sale of live animals.

According to China’s Postal Law, it is illegal to post live animals. However, there are hundreds of online shops that sell animals, including snakes, scorpions, lizards and mice. Express companies usually do not reject parcels containing live animals.