Snakebite crisis gets US$100-million boost for better antivenoms

Wellcome Trust launches research initiative for long-neglected health problem.

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Biomedical-research funder the Wellcome Trust has announced an ambitious initiative to improve the treatment of snakebites in poor countries. Snakebites kill tens of thousands of people a year, partly because they are treated with archaic antivenoms that often work only for one species.

Wellcome’s £80-million (US$103-million) programme, announced on 16 May, aims to improve existing therapies and will also support the development of antivenoms that can treat the toxins of different snake species.

“After many years of neglect, the tragic global threat of snakebite is fortunately now receiving significantly greater attention,” says Mark Feinberg, president of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, which also supports research into snakebite treatments.

By: Quirin Schiermeier/Nature News

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