- Collaborates with the Instituto Clodomiro Picado of University of Costa Rica to develop practical ways to increase production and reduce costs of antivenom by using AAHI's adjuvant formulations during the production processes.
- Uses adjuvant formulations in efforts to enable more sustainable and humane production of snake antivenom for more equitably available and accessible treatment of snake bite world-wide.
The densest populations of venomous snakes, particularly vipers (rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, copperheads, lancehead vipers, Russell's vipers, saw scale vipers) and elapids (black mambas, cobras, krait coral reef snakes), are found in Australia and tropical regions of developing nations in Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa.
Snakebite is the most important tropical disease you've never heard of.
United Nations Secretary General
Untreated snakebite envonomings can result in death, amputations, neurological damage, organ failure, and/or permanent disability.
A TREATABLE DISEASE
Antivenom treats snake bite envenomation by stopping venom toxins in a victim's blood and tissues, halting the spread and damage of key physiological functions; it cannot undo damage that a victim may already have suffered.
Once a victim is bitten, it is absolutely critical that antivenom be administered immediately to mitigate or avoid devastating health consequences. Availability and immediacy of treatment, however, is extremely challenging in rural and remote communities with undeveloped healthcare infrastructure.
Snake bite is most common in river valleys, agricultural fields, and jungles. Places such as the river valleys of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, and the jungles of India, snakebite is so common that it is considered an "occupational disease" for farmers, fishermen, and cattle herders.
Yet it can take hours, even days, to bike, canoe, or be carried by foot to the nearest medical center. In rural communities of South Asia, South America, and sub-Saharan Africa, where 95% of deaths by snake bit occur, there is no guarantee even that the nearest medical center will have staff trained to administer antivenom or, for that matter, any antivenom in stock.
LACK OF ANTIVENOM
Antivenom is typically specific to snake species, and there are over 600 species of venomous snakes. While several countries have established antivenom producers, they are largely focused on local venomous snakes, scorpions, and spiders.
There is limited antivenom production for regions of high snakebite incidence, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Other antivenom products available on the commercial market are either too expensive for true accessibility, or have been withdrawn from the market for lack of profitability.
Antivenom is produced from antibodies from the blood of large mammals, such as horses or sheep, that are immunized by injection with small amounts of snake venom.
Administering AAHI's immune-enhancing adjuvant formulations with snake venom stimulates more efficient production of antibodies, while reducing local reactogenicity at the site of injection compared to traditionally used formulations.
Traditional Antivenom Production:
Capturing and "milking" a venomous snake to extract venom from its fangs into a bottle.
Immunizing a horse by injecting it with small amounts of the snake venom, triggering an immune response that results in the production of antibodies.
Extracting, concentrating, and purifying antibodies from the horse's blood to make an antibody-laden serum (antivenom) that can be injected into humans.
Administering AAHI's adjuvant formulations with small amounts of venom in Step 2 amplifies production of antibodies, which is anticipated to result in a corresponding reduction in effort and cost per dose of antivenom.
AAHI scientists are working with the University of Costa Rica, which has an antivenom manufacturing facility that conforms to GMP ('Good Manufacturing Pactices' promulgated by biologic and pharmaceutical regulatory agencies), to research and develop the use of adjuvant formulations for horse immunization with the goal of enabling more efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective production of antivenom.
AAHI's adjuvant formulations provide a practical way to increase production and reduce costs, making antivenom more equitably available and accessible.