Alistair Reid Venom Unit
The Alistair Reid Venom Research Unit at LSTM is a unique resource for snake venom research. The unit hosts the largest collection of venomous snakes in the UK, for use in clinical and scientific studies to improve the efficacy, safety and affordability of anti-venom to treat victims of snakebite, with a focus on the rural poor of Africa. The Vemon Unit is part of the Parasitology Department.
Snake envenoming kills at least 125,000 people each year. Victims that survive envenoming often suffer severe tissue destruction at the site of the bite, which can cause permanent physical disability and deformity. The great majority of snake bite victims are the rural poor in tropical countries with severely under resourced health infrastructures.
The objective of the unit, to improve the treatment of snake envenoming, has remained constant under the initial leadership of Dr Alistair Reid, then Professor David Theakston and now Dr Rob Harrison. This remit has been addressed by the following research activities:
Developing a therapy of the tissue effects of envenoming
Improving the therapy of the systemic effects of envenoming