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Program delivering life-saving Australian-made antivenoms to PNG extended another three years

Manufacturing News

A partnership involving CSL Seqirus, and which has saved more than 2,000 lives through access to antivenoms in Papua New Guinea since beginning in 2018, has been extended by another three years out until 2027.

According to a statement from CSL Seqirus – a division of ASX-listed biotech company CSL – it is an initiative of the company, the Australian government, and PNG’s National Department of Health.

The PNG Snakebite Partnership will see CSL Seqirus donate up to 600 vials of Australian-made antivenom to PNG each year, to be distributed by St John Ambulance PNG, which has just joined the partnership.

“With one of the highest incidences of snakebite in the world this partnership provides critical support to improving patient outcomes in PNG,” said Pat Conroy, minister for international development.

Snakebite accounts for approximately six-tenths of all ventilator bed days at the Port Moresby General Hospital Intensive Care Unit in the country’s capital.

“Timely access to antivenom is critical in responding to snake envenomation. We are proud to continue our partnership with the Australian Government and play an important role in improving access to antivenoms in PNG, so that doctors and nurses can deliver the best patient care,” said Dr Jules Bayliss, ANZ Medical Director for Vaccines and Biosecurity at CSL Seqirus,

“Australia and PNG share similar venomous snakes and marine creatures as they used to be part of the same land mass and both countries have shared waters. As the only manufacturer of antivenoms for creatures native to Australia, we’re uniquely placed to also help reduce the burden of snakebite in PNG.”

By CSL’s count, the partnership has helped save 2,000 lives since its beginning, seen nearly 3,000 vials of antivenom donated to treat victims of snakes and marine creatures, and trained over 1,500 healthcare workers with snakebite clinical training.

The company manufactures 11 antivenoms for venomous snakes, spiders and marine creatures as part of an agreement with the federal government, and has been manufacturing antivenoms since 1930 when it developed the first tiger snake antivenom in partnership with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne.

Picture: supplied

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