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Toxicon. 2013 Jul;69:90-7. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2013.01.022. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Antivenom for snakebite envenoming in Sri Lanka: the need for geographically specific antivenom and improved efficacy.

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  • 1Animal Venom Research International, Moreno Valley, CA, USA. keyle001@umn.edu

Abstract

Sri Lanka is a tropical developing island nation that endures significant economic and medical burden as a result of snakebite envenomation, having not only a high prevalence of envenomations, but also one of the highest incidence rates (200 snakebites/100,000 people/year) of venomous snakebite in the world (Kasturiratne et al., 2005). Ironically, the very snakes responsible for this human morbidity and mortality are a valuable biomedical and ecological national resource, despite the medical and economic consequences of envenomation. Currently, no snake antivenom is produced using venoms from native Sri Lankan snakes as immunogens, and there is a true need for an efficacious Sri Lanka, poly-specific snake antivenom. An approach to fulfilling this need via combining the scientific, technological and economical resources from Costa Rica and the United States with the knowledge and talent of Sri Lankan official governmental agencies, legal counsels, environmental, medical and veterinary academic institutions, and religious and cultural leaders has been initiated, coordinated and funded by Animal Venom Research International (AVRI), a nonprofit charity. This bridging of nations and the cooperative pooling of their resources represents a potential avenue for antivenom development in a developing country that suffers the consequences of few specific resources for the medical management of venomous snakebite. The desired final outcome of such an endeavor for Sri Lanka is, most importantly, improved medical outcomes for snakebite patients, with enhanced and expanded science and technology relating to snake venoms and antivenoms, and the collateral benefits of reduced economic cost for the country.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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