Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Snake envenomation’ Category

Nanoparticles and Snakebites


Snakes kill or cripple 500,000 people a year

“……Dr. Shea’s lab is creating hydrogel nanoparticles coated with polymers — the building blocks of plastics — small enough to attach to proteins.

While screening them against common venoms, he isolated some nanoparticles that bind with and neutralize two poisons produced by snakes like cobras, kraits, coral snakes, sea snakes and mambas.

José María Gutiérrez, a venom specialist at the University of Costa Rica, injected dozens of mice with the venom of the black-necked spitting cobra. He found that Dr. Shea’s nanoparticles significantly reduced tissue damage in the mice. Importantly, the nanoparticles did not appear to interfere with normal proteins or to trigger dangerous allergic reactions……”

O’Brien J, Lee S-H, Gutiérrez JM, Shea KJ (2018) Engineered nanoparticles bind elapid snake venom toxins and inhibit venom-induced dermonecrosis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 12(10): e0006736.


In June, 2017, snakebite envenoming was classified as a category A neglected tropical disease

Vulnerability to snakebite envenoming: a global mapping of hotspots

Longbottom, Joshua et al.
The Lancet
“……Although about 6.85 billion people worldwide live within range of areas inhabited by snakes, about 146.70 million live within remote areas lacking quality health-care provisioning……”
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