* To investigate and improve therapy of bites and stings in different areas of Brazil and Ecuador by clinical testing of antivenoms.
* To investigate the extent of the problem of bites and stings in the above areas.
* To investigate the efficacy of plant extracts as possible alternatives to conventional antivenoms.
* To develop enzymes immunoassay as a tool for epidemiological studies, rapid immunodiagnosis and for studying the kinetics of envenoming and therapy.
* The optimum antivenoms and antivenom doses will be determined following preclinical tests and possibly clinical trials for use in central and Amazonian Brazil and Amazonian Ecuador.
* Epidemiological studies will result in clarification of the extent of the health problems caused by bites and stings in Brazil and Ecuador.
* The purification and testing of venom components will help in the possible development of novel drugs.
Activities carried out are:
* Preclinical experimental assessment of antivenoms before clinical studies (Liverpool).
* Randomized clinical trials of antivenoms using clinical and laboratory methods (Belem, Uberlandia, Sao Paulo-Brazil, Shell Pastaza-Ecuador, Oxford-UK).
* Laboratory tests on the pathological effects of venoms.
* Isolation, purification and study of venom components.
* Taxonomic evaluation of medically-important snake species and associated study of venoms from these (Sao Paulo-Brazil, Bangor-UK).
* Epidemiological survey studies in Amazonian Ecuador and Brazil to establish the true extent of bites and stings in these areas (Sao Paulo and Belem-Brazil, Pastaza, Shell-Ecuador).
* Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay is being used as a tool for examining the kinetics of envenoming and therapy (Liverpool, Paris).
* Isolates from various plants are being prepared in Hannover and tested for antivenom activity in Liverpool.
* Affinity purification of specific venom antigens is being used to increase the specificity and decrease the time taken for immunodiagnosis (Liverpool, Paris)
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
05504 São Paulo
OX3 7LJ Oxford
LL57 2UW Bangor - Gwynedd