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Tackling snakebite

Wellcome has announced an ambitious new £80m programme to transform the way snakebite treatments are researched and delivered, to make them better, safer and more accessible for all.  


Snakebites kill between 81,000-138,000 people every year. The burden of death and disability is greater than any other neglected tropical disease and equal to that of prostate or cervical cancer.

Another 400,000 people suffer life-changing injuries, such as amputations.

The worst affected are from the world’s poorest communities in rural Africa, Asia and South America. 

Professor Mike Turner, Wellcome’s Director of Science, said: “Snakebite is - or should be - a treatable condition. With access to the right antivenom there is a high chance of survival. 

“While people will always be bitten by venomous snakes, there is no reason so many should die.

“Treatment has progressed little in the last century, and is too rarely accessible, safe and effective in the places where it is needed the most. It’s an incredibly challenging issue – there has been almost no investment in snakebite research over the last decade – but it’s also one that is solvable with support from WHO, national governments, industry and other funders.”

This news comes as the WHO publishes its first snakebite strategy, which seeks to halve death and disability from snakebite by 2030.


Image credit | iStock

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