In 2018, Seqirus joined the ‘PNG Snakebite Partnership’, a three-year government and industry partnership to help save the lives of people bitten by venomous snakes in Papua New Guinea.
The project aims to significantly improve access to antivenoms by combining a large antivenom donation and healthcare worker training, with a purpose-built distribution and product management system.
Seqirus is providing an annual donation of 600 vials of snake and marine creature antivenoms to PNG. This is more than triple the amount of antivenom previously purchased annually by the PNG National Department of Health and the donation is valued at more than PGK2.5 million annually.
The Australian Government is supporting the management of the antivenoms and training of health workers on snakebite management. They are delivered by the Charles Campbell Toxinology Centre (CCTC), a collaborative partnership between the UPNG and the University of Melbourne.
CCTC operates the snakebite clinic at Port Moresby General Hospital and offers two new postgraduate Master of Medical Science scholarships to UPNG students as part of the provision of comprehensive monitoring and evaluation services and health worker training under the project.
The manufacture of Seqirus’ range of antivenoms is supported with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.
Snakebite in PNG
World Health Organization data states that around 1000 deaths from snakebite are reported annually in PNG1. The species that cause the most snakebites are the Papuan taipans and death adders. Taipans are common in the coastal savannah grasslands of southern PNG and predominate in Central Province, NCD, Milne Bay Province, eastern Gulf Province and South- and Middle-Fly regions of Western Province, but are not present in any other regions of PNG. Death Adders are present in all mainland Provinces and are the most frequent cause of envenoming and death outside of the southern coastal provinces.