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The failures of ethnobotany and phytomedicine in delivering novel treatments for snakebite envenomation

Trim, S. A., Trim, C. M., Williams, H. F. and Vaiyapuri, S. ORCID: (2020) The failures of ethnobotany and phytomedicine in delivering novel treatments for snakebite envenomation. Toxins, 12 (12). 774. ISSN 2072-6651

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/toxins12120774


Snakebite envenomation (SBE) is a high priority, neglected tropical disease. This devastating occupational health hazard disproportionately affects rural farming communities in tropical countries. This is exacerbated by the distribution and densities of venomous snakes, incidence of encounters and limited access to advanced healthcare, including antivenom. Before the development of antivenom, desperation and spiritual beliefs led patients to experiment with a wide range of traditional treatments. Many of these treatments still survive today, particularly in regions where access to healthcare is limited. Plants are a major source of bioactive molecules, including several lifesaving medications that are widely used to this day. However, much of the research into the use of traditional plant treatments for SBE are limited to preliminary analysis, or have focused on techniques used to confirm antibody efficacy that are not suitable for non-antibody containing treatments. Modern drugs are developed through a robust pharmaceutical drug discovery and development process, which applies as much to SBE as it does to any other disease. This review discusses specifically why research into ethnobotanical practices has failed to identify or develop a novel treatment for SBE, and proposes specific approaches that should be considered in this area of research in the future.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Division of Pharmacology
ID Code:94777


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