Developing a universal antivenom to treat snake venom-induced consumption coagulopathy

Year of award: 2016


  • Dr Nick Casewell

    Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Project summary

Snakebite is a neglected tropical disease that kills around 100,000 people each year. Different snakes have different venoms, and for this reason antivenom therapies are limited to treating patients bitten by certain snakes. One of the most common pathologies caused by snakebite is incoagulable blood. 

I will aim to develop a single antivenom that can be used anywhere in the world to treat snakebite patients suffering with incoagulable blood. This new antivenom will be the first of its kind – a purposely designed ‘pathology-specific’ antivenom that will only require low doses and be much safer than existing antivenoms. I will use modern technologies for its development, first using ‘proteomics’ to determine which venom toxins in different snakes cause incoagulable blood and then targeting these components by making monoclonal antibodies that neutralise them.