Snakebite: the case for action and the need for innovation in treatment approaches

The new Climax Centre for Therapeutic Innovation at St Hilda’s is delighted to welcome Dr Nick Cammack, Head of the Wellcome Trust’s Snakebite Team, to deliver the Centre’s Hilary Term lecture: ‘Snakebite: the case for action and the need for innovation in treatment approaches’.

Snakebite is arguably the world’s biggest hidden health crisis. It kills some 120,000 people every year, mostly from the world’s poorest communities in rural Africa, Asia and South America. The burden of death and disability is equivalent to that of prostate cancer or cervical cancer and greater than that of any other neglected tropical disease. Yet the problem is solvable – we need to bring snakebite treatment into the 21st century; we need innovative approaches to discovering and developing next generation snakebite treatments; and we need to build and importantly, sustain snakebite as a global health priority.

Dr Nick Cammack was appointed to the Wellcome Trust in September 2019 to lead an ambitious new £80 million programme aimed at driving a step-change in snakebite treatment around the world. The goal is to achieve a 50% reduction in mortality by 2030. In addition there is a pressing need to modernise the production of anti-venoms and improve their means of delivery.