Our vision is to create a sustainable research institute that has the capacity to manage the neglect problem of snakebite envenoming through the production of antivenoms, provision of patient care services, training of medical personnel and community-based public health programs. We hope to create value that contributes to the development of Papua New Guinea as an independent nation through investment in people, infrastructure and information.
CCTC undertakes a range of projects aligned to our mission of reducing the number of deaths due to snakebites in Papua New Guinea, and providing all of Papua New Guinea’s citizens with access to safe, effective and affordable antivenoms.
The following pages have information about a number of our current projects:
Our current programs have the potential to be expanded, with an emphasis on increased service delivery through our snakebite clinic and ambulance retrieval service, infrastructure development in the form of a new serpentarium and antivenom dispensing/quality control laboratory, and human resources development through the training of scientists and doctors.
FUTURE DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES
- Construction of a new serpentarium and laboratory building to enable long-term sustainable production of GMP-standard venoms for antivenom manufacture, and phased technology transfer to facilitate 100% local production of antivenoms within 10 years.
- Expansion of our MICA-level medical retrieval service to enable delivery of services throughout NCD, Central Province and the east of Gulf Province with at least two fully equipped ambulances available to operate 24 hours a day, and the capacity to undertake regular rural health clinic and community education visits.
- Establishment of training places in clinical toxinology for doctors and other health workers from elsewhere in PNG, supporting them to learn how to manage snake bite cases in our PMGH Snakebite Clinic, and then establish satellite clinics in their own hospitals.
- Developing local leadership and creating local opportunities for postgraduate and postdoctoral students by expanding our workforce and increasing our capacity to supervise and train postgraduate students within our project.
- A key priority is to further improve the effectiveness of our Papuan taipan antivenom against the powerful neurotoxic effects of the venom. We have proposed a fresh research project that will use modern phage-display technology to create innovative single-chain variable fragment (scFv) antibodies against multiple binding epitopes on the neurotoxins themselves, in the hope of improving neutralisation and reducing the need for airway intubation.
- We plan to produce a bivalent antivenom against the venoms of death adders and small-eyed snakes, two highly venomous species with an almost identical distribution that are responsible for the majority of snakebites in regions of PNG where the Papuan taipan does not occur. Such a product would benefit people in Provinces such as the Southern Highlands, Gulf, Morobe, Western, Oro, Madang, East Sepik and Sandaun, where these two species are the main medically important snakes causing envenoming.
- We want to implement a national antivenom distribution and snakebite reporting system for health centres and hospitals (in collaboration with CSL Limited and the NDoH) that will allow us to determine the incidence and mortality rates within the public health system, and by combining this with community-level surveys, build a picture of the true impact of snakebite envenoming by learning just how many people are affected who have no access to health care services, or die before reaching health care.
In a broader context, we are committed to developing and fitting out laboratory facilities with modern, cutting edge technologies that will expose students and staff to dynamic research environments that are internationally competitive, and will enable them to undertake research that is of significant benefit to PNG.