The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. CN Ashwath Narayan, has laid the foundations of the Anti-Venom Research and Development Center (AVRDC) at the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) in Electronics City, Bengaluru Monday.
The center would be built at a cost of Rs 7 crore, officials said. It will span a total built-up area of approximately 16,000 square feet and will feature a serpentarium, venom extraction observatory, research laboratory, incubation facility and a digital library.
The minister said India is considered the snakebite capital of the world, causing 58,000 deaths and 1,37,000 disabilities annually. He said he believed the center would help reduce the number of snakebite deaths.
“One of the major limitations of pursuing snake venom research in India is the lack of accessibility to venoms. As a result, a vast knowledge gap exists in the field of snake venom research. This AVRDC would be established as a collaborative initiative between the Karnataka Innovative & Technological Society (KITS) under the Department of Informatics/BT, IBAB (Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology) and the Evolutionary Venomics Lab, Ecological Science Center, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. This will facilitate overcoming these limits,” Narayan said.
“It will be India’s first state-of-the-art snakebite research facility, which will house approximately…23 species of snakes and other poisonous animals like scorpions, spiders, etc. from the Indian subcontinent. It will also house a research center and incubation center for start-ups interested in pursuing venom biodiscovery research,” he added.
Stating that this would pave the way for university-industry collaborations for the development of regional anti-venoms tailored exclusively to Karnataka, the minister added that the AVRDC would promote the development of better therapies to reduce snakebite deaths.
Stating that the center will play a major role in the development of advanced biotechnology interventions on snakebites and the search for biological discovery from venoms, Kartik Sunagar, assistant professor at IISc’s Center for Ecological Sciences, said that ‘it will also provide various services for the manufacture of life. save anti-venoms.
“The center’s goal is also to continue research towards the development of a broadly effective next-generation anti-venom therapy. The center will also help India’s commercial anti-venom manufacturers to test the effectiveness of venom and anti-venom products, as well as advance the effectiveness of conventional anti-venom,” Sunasagar added.
“The center will include a state-of-the-art serpentarium, housing many species of snakes, spiders and scorpions in near-natural habitats, a fully equipped research center and an incubation center to support organic entrepreneurship in this field of national interest. interest. The mandate of the center is to continue research towards the development of a broadly effective snakebite therapy using the latest technology platforms,” he said.
The minister said the AVRDC is also expected to assist the Forestry Department with wildlife forensic research, biotechnology innovations, snakebite education and awareness, and support entrepreneurship in the area concerned.