Karnataka: Science and technology minister lays foundation for anti-venom research centre in Bengaluru
- by Team ABLE - 06 Jul, 2022
Science and Technology Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan laid the foundation for the Anti-Venom Research and Development Centre (AVRDC) at the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) in Electronics City, Bengaluru Monday.
The centre would be built at a cost of Rs 7 crore, officials said. It will come up on a total built-up area of about 16,000 sqft and will have a serpentarium, venom extraction observatory, research lab, incubation facility and digital library.
The minister said India is considered as the global capital for snakebites, causing 58,000 deaths and 1,37,000 disabilities annually. He expressed confidence that the centre would contribute in reducing the number of deaths owing to snake bites.
“One of the major limitations of pursuing snake venom research in India is the lack of accessibility to venoms. Owing to this, a vast knowledge gap exists in the field of snake venom research in the country. This AVRDC would be established as a collaborative initiative between Karnataka Innovative & Technological Society (KITS) under the Department of IT/BT, IBAB (Institute of Bioinformatics & Applied Biotechnology) and the Evolutionary Venomics Lab, Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. This will facilitate overcoming these limitations,” Narayan said.
“This will be a first of its kind state-of-the-art centre for snakebite research in India, will house about… 23 species of snakes and other venomous animals like scorpions, spiders etc. from the Indian subcontinent. It will also house a research facility and incubation centre for start-ups interested in pursuing biodiscovery research on venom,” he added.
Claiming it would pave the way for academia-industry collaborations for the development of regional anti-venoms tailored exclusively for Karnataka, the minister added that the AVRDC would foster the development of better therapeutics to reduce snakebite fatalities.
Stating that the centre will play a major role in developing advanced biotechnological snakebite interventions and bio-discovery research from venoms, Kartik Sunagar, assistant professor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences at IISc, said it will also provide various services for the manufacture of life-saving anti-venoms.
“The objective of the centre is also to pursue research towards the development of a broadly efficacious next-generation anti-venom therapy. The centre will also assist commercial Indian anti-venom manufacturers in efficacy testing of venom and anti-venom products, as well as in advancing the effectiveness of conventional anti-venoms,” Sunasagar added.
“The centre will consist of a state-of-the-art serpentarium, housing many species of snakes, spiders and scorpions in near-natural habitats, a fully-equipped research facility and an incubation centre to support bio entrepreneurship in this area of national interest. The mandate of the centre is to pursue research towards the development of a broadly efficacious snakebite therapy using the latest technological platforms,” he said.
The minister said it is also expected that the AVRDC will assist the Forest Department with wildlife forensic research, biotechnological innovations, snakebite education and outreach, and support entrepreneurship in the domain concerned.
The centre would be built at a cost of Rs 7 crore, officials said. It will come up on a total built-up area of about 16,000 sqft.