A nurse analyses a blood sample to perform a coagulation test following a snake bite at the Paoua hospital in northwestern Central African Republic, supported by MSF.
Research article |

BMJ Global Health: Snakebites and COVID-19: two crises, one R&D opportunity

Photograph by Alexis Huguet
A nurse analyses a blood sample to perform a coagulation test following a snake bite at the Paoua hospital in northwestern Central African Republic, supported by MSF.

In this Commentary article published in the journal BMJ Global Health, authors from the MSF Access Campaign, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, and Wellcome Trust summarise the status of snakebite antivenom products and identify key lessons and recommendations from COVID-19 that could help refocus funding and accelerate progression of novel antivenom candidates in the research and development (R&D) pipeline.

Despite inherent differences, snakebite envenoming and COVID-19 have much in common in terms of R&D challenges and opportunities. Both crises require a diversified portfolio of R&D solutions, ranging from diagnostics to treatments, that can effectively work and be accessible in different resource settings. Collaborative clinical research and streamlined regulatory pathways are critical to accelerate candidates in the R&D pipeline. Transformative progress is possible with a concerted approach that aligns strong political will, coordinated financing and the needs of the most marginalised communities.