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NC3Rs: National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research
PhD Studentship

Refining, reducing and replacing in vivo WHO-standard preclinical assays of snake venom pathology and antivenom efficacy

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At a glance

Award date
May 2012 - April 2016
Grant amount
Principal investigator
Dr Robert Harrison


Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine


  • Reduction
  • Replacement
Read the abstract
View the grant profile on GtR

Application abstract

The Alistair Reid Venom Research Unit (ARVRU) of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and MicroPharm Ltd. have a long association in the production and delivery of life-saving snake antivenoms for West Africa, which suffers the continent's highest snakebite mortality burden. Antivenom is the mainstay of snakebite treatment and is immunoglobulin purified from the sera of venom-immunised horses and sheep. There is a legal/regulatory requirement to conduct in vivo preclinical efficacy testing of new and existing antivenoms prior to human treatment. These assays carry a 'substantial' severity grading by the UK Home Office.

The objective of this PhD Studentship is to assess whether a cell-based system can be used to replace in vivo preclinical testing, and to determine the extent to which various 3R-modifications can be incorporated into these assays to reduce the numbers of animals and the associated pain, suffering and distress whilst retaining the scientific/regulatory validity of the assays.



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