African Venom and Envenoming Collaboration

In the 21st century, snake bite envenoming is likely the most neglected and underreported disease. The World Health Organization estimates up to 5 million people to suffer snake bites every year, resulting in amputation in 300,000 and at least 100,000 deaths. However, well-designed studies recently reported that 500,000 to 700,000 bites with 6000 deaths per year occur in Bangladesh and 46,000 annual deaths in India alone. Estimates from some regions in Nigeria include 500 bites with 50 deaths per 100,000 people and year. Although this acute complex condition can be rapidly and completely cured, the life-saving treatment is widely unavailable.

Responding to appeals from Africa to urgently develop innovative strategies to improve access to snake bite treatment, a new health research network has been founded under the auspices of the Société Africaine de Venimologie / African Society of Toxinology (SAV / AST). The AFRIVEC (African Venom and Envenoming Collaboration) network aims to create long-term scientific cooperation between Africa and Germany in the field of toxinology, and to establish and foster sustainable south-south collaborations on envenoming due to animal bites and stings.

Although rapid transfer of research results into routine healthcare is at the focus of AFRIVEC, the network partners also conduct fundamental eco-epidemiology, public health and health system research. This is important for understanding the real magnitude of the health problems caused by envenoming in Africa and the causes that underlie the present failure of health systems to provide access to the essential drugs for its treatment.

To this end, AFRIVEC partners combine organismal and molecular biodiversity research, climate impact research and epidemiological and clinical research with health economics and sustainability research and product development. The goals of the network include the development and validation of innovative strategies to improve the access to treatment and new diagnostics for envenoming, and to elucidate the impacts of climate, land use and demographic changes on this neglected disease of poverty.

AFRIVEC Partners:

Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F), Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland
Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland
Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Benin
Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria
Bayero University Kano, Kano, Nigeria
Institut Pasteur de Guinée, Conakry, Guinea
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Institut Pasteur de Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland
Centre Anti Poison de Dakar, Dakar, Senegal
Centre Antivenimeux, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako, Bamako, Mali
Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana
West African College of Physicians, Ghana