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The urgent need to develop novel strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of snakebites

Williams, H. F., Layfield, H. J., Vallance, T., Patel, K., Bicknell, A. B., Trim, S. A. and Vaiyapuri, S. ORCID: (2019) The urgent need to develop novel strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of snakebites. Toxins, 11 (6). 363. ISSN 2072-6651

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/toxins11060363


Snakebite envenoming (SBE) is a priority neglected tropical disease, which kills over one hundred thousand people per year. However, many millions of survivors also suffer through disabilities and long-term health consequences. The only treatment, antivenom, has a number of major associated problems, not least, adverse reactions and limited availability. This emphasises the necessity for urgent improvements to the management of this disease. Administration of antivenom is too frequently based on symptomatology, which results in wasting crucial time. The majority of SBE-affected regions rely on broad-spectrum polyvalent antivenoms that have a low content of case-specific efficacious immunoglobulins. Research into small molecular therapeutics such as varespladib/methyl-varespladib (PLA2 inhibitors) and batimastat/marimastat (metalloprotease inhibitors) suggest that such adjunctive treatments could be hugely beneficial to victims. Progress into toxin-specific monoclonal antibodies as well as alternative binding scaffolds such as aptamers hold much promise for future treatment strategies. SBE is not implicit during snakebite, due to venom metering. Thus, the delay between bite and symptom presentation is critical and when symptoms appear it may often already be too late. The development of reliable diagnostical tools could therefore initiate a paradigm shift in the treatment of SBE. While the complete eradication of SBE is an impossibility, mitigation is in the pipeline, and new treatments are emerging.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Biomedical Sciences
University of Reading Malaysia
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Division of Pharmacology
ID Code:84396


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