Snakebite phenomena – A brief analysis
Snakebite has recently been declared as a global public health emergency that is primarily affecting the residents of rural communities in Africa, Latin America, Asia and New Guinea. Conservative estimates do indicate that the globally, more than five million people suffer from snakebite every year leading to 25,000 to 125,000 deaths with an estimated 400,000 people left with permanent disabilities.
Global Antivenoms Market
Treatment with specific Antivenoms is considered to be the only cure or remedy from snakebite as Anti-venom is an organic product that detoxifies poisoning due to fatal bites and stings. Anti-venom is also known as “venom antiserum” and “anti-venom immunoglobulin” and as such, anti-venom products have emerged as the lifesavers leading to a substantial growth of global Antivenoms market. The global Antivenoms market is expected to have an enormous growth with projected revenues that may reach $1493.2 million by the end of 2021 with a CAGR growth of 6.12% from 2016 to 2021.
Recent advances in the field of pharmacokinetics have improved the purification of the Antivenoms by using immunoglobulin fragments leading to an increased tolerance and efficiency of Antivenoms. The snake Antivenoms market is unable to cater to the demand for snake antivenom products as at present only a few countries are producing snake venoms of adequate quality for antivenom drugs.
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In addition, there is a lack of regulatory capacity for the control of the Antivenoms in countries resulting in an inability to assess the quality and appropriateness of Antivenoms. Less than 1% of the required antivenom for snakebite is produced for supplying to Sub-Saharan Africa (20,000 ampoules) whereas the requirement is for two million ampoules to treat patients. There exists a great demand for snake antivenom that is compelling the expansion of the snake Antivenoms market.
Segmentation of global Antivenoms market
The global Antivenoms market is segmented based on their nature into the following types
- Monovalent (neutralizes the venom of only one species of snake)
- Polyvalent/Polyspecific (neutralizes the venom of several different species of species)
- Types of animals – Antivenoms for snakebites, scorpions, spiders and other venomous species
- Based on geography – Asia –Pacific, Europe, North America and Latin America regions
Approximately one million snakebites occur annually in African countries with about half needing treatment requiring more supply of snake Antivenoms. The snake antivenom immunoglobulins obtained by immunizing horses with selective snake venoms are considered the only specific treatment for snakebite with WHO (World Health Organization) estimating about 10 million vials of Antivenoms needed to control the effects of snakebite each year.
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Initiatives of WHO and Global Snakebite Initiative Limited (GSI)
Snakebite remains the most neglected of all tropical diseases and a dramatic reduction in the antivenom producers due to low output and high production costs of antivenom drugs. The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2009 has added snakebite antivenom immunoglobulin in the WHO Model List for Essential Medicines under Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) encouraging countries to do the same thereby ensuring adequate national antivenom stocks.
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The Global Snakebite Initiative Limited (GSI) – a registered non-profit, charitable organization based in Australia is working towards building capacity amongst the civil society and healthcare systems in snakebite affected countries so that they are able to combat the menace of snakebites quite effectively thereby reducing the mortality rates. The initiatives undertaken by the WHO and GSI is helping manufacturers in submitting their dossiers of their antivenom manufacturing and testing systems to ensure only appropriate, effective Antivenoms are distributed within the global Antivenoms market.
The initiative of WHO and GSI through regular workshops and awareness campaigns and training is helping over 45 manufacturers of antivenom producers to increase antivenom availability by upgrading their technological platforms, infrastructure, adhering to good manufacturing practices (GMP)and staff training leading to an overall improvement in the supply of antivenom products in global Antivenoms market.
The integrated approach of WHO and GSI is shaping up the antivenins market trends in a positive way such as the guidelines for the production, control and regulation of snake antivenom immunoglobulin calling for establishment of applicable standards pertaining to venomous snake husbandry and the collection of venom, stabilization and storage and quality control is commendable. In addition, the upgrading of laboratories can benefit antivenom manufacturers for international collaboration especially with more advanced groups within the region or overseas thereby getting new markets for their products within the global Antivenoms market.
Countries such as Australia, Brazil, Mexico (Bioclon Institute – Mexican SME that has the share of around 7% of global antivenins market), France (Sanofi- Pharmaceutical Company that produced Fav –Afrique – an antivenom product), India, South Africa have large and well-established Antivenoms manufacturing capacities.
A careful design of the immunizing venom mixtures through partnerships between research groups and manufacturers would open new markets for antivenom products and in producing them with lower costs.
Finally, it can be expected that the strategies and initiatives of WHO and GSI would help in restoring the commercial viability of antivenom production especially the availability of these antivenom drugs to Sub-Saharan Regions of Africa through co-funding from governments and other partners thereby enhancing the growth of global Antivenoms market.