Recombinant snakebite antivenom for sub-Saharan Africa


  • Dr Andreas Laustsen

    Technical University of Denmark

Project summary

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is heavily burdened by snakebite envenoming. Existing antivenoms are scarce and many have suboptimal therapeutic properties. To improve snakebite envenoming therapy, the application of carefully designed mixtures of fully human monoclonal immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies for systemic acting toxins and nanobodies for locally acting toxins, provides a therapeutically promising and scientifically feasible solution.

Taking advantage of our well-established discovery pipelines and expertise in working with oligoclonal and broadly neutralising antibodies against toxins, we will develop a broad-spectrum (polyvalent) recombinant antivenom for SSA. The project will focus on the following technical goals we believe have the potential to deliver measurable societal and humanitarian health impacts:

Identification and isolation of all medically relevant snake venom toxins that need to be neutralised by a recombinant antivenom for SSA.

Discovery of a well-characterised panel of broadly neutralising IgGs and nanobodies that can neutralise all medically relevant, systemically-acting and deep tissue penetrating toxins found in the 24 medically most-relevant snake species from this region.

Combined, these efforts will create a substantial shift in snakebite envenoming therapy and will enable the clinical development of improved, low-cost, and quality-assured snakebite therapeutics for victims in sub-Saharan Africa.