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AV Medical Center participates in snakebite treatment study


One of 10 such clinical trials in nation

Antelope Valley Medical Center is one of 10 U.S. sites participating in a new clinical study that will advance the treatment for snakebites. The clinical study, Broad Spectrum Rapid Antidote: Varespladib IV to Oral, or BRAVIO for short, is to test a new drug called Varespladib, which comes in IV and oral formulation.

Created by Ophirex, the new drug has shown to greatly improve outcomes in snakebites compared to standard forms of care in animal studies thus far. The most promising result shows that animal models already suffering from neurotoxic effects of snake envenomation, can now have a full turn around to a neurologic baseline.

The antidote would benefit rural and international populations who do not have easy access to medical care, in addition to making it affordable and manageable to where a person may take the oral formulation hiking or backpacking. The drug targets the most lethal component of venom, so it will be effective against the most dangerous snakes.

The Department of Defense is funding the study, as many service members and soldiers suffer morbidity and mortality worldwide from snakebite envenomation. Morbidity can include permanent limb injuries, amputation, or other forms of disability. Overall, 500,000 people die or suffer amputations each year from a venomous snakebite.

Snakebite victims, 18 years and older in the Antelope Valley, who come to the AVMC emergency department with significant envenomation symptoms, will have an opportunity to partake in the study. Varespladib has already been given to more than 4,000 patients, and has been found to have little to no side effects.

“I’m excited to be part of a study that will benefit people on a global level. We feel it’s a great opportunity for our hospital to provide cutting edge treatment that not only supports our desert communities, but also our service men & women overseas,” said Eileen Shu, M.D., principal investigator of the study at Antelope Valley Medical Center.

For more information about Antelope Valley Medical Center’s Emergency Department, visit