Snake antivenom production in Ecuador: Poor implementation, and an unplanned cessation leads to a call for a renaissance

Toxicon. 2021 Oct 30;202:90-97. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2021.09.014. Epub 2021 Sep 25.


Snakebite envenomation is a global health problem. This health problem asymmetrically affects rural populations in developing countries to such an extent that it recently has been listed as a priority neglected tropical disease (NTD). It is estimated that 5.4 million individuals are bitten by snakes each year, causing at least 2.7 million envenomations and more than 100,000 deaths each year. Ecuador has one of the highest snakebite envenomation incidence rates in Latin America, mostly in the coastal and Amazonian provinces. Envenomations in these regions are the result of bites primarily by species of snakes belonging to the Viperidae family. Ecuador was able to locally produce antivenoms, however serious flaws were revealed in the antivenom production process, leading to the decommissioning of the existing facility. In the interest of public health, we have summarized the political and social setbacks experienced by the antivenom serum production plant in Ecuador, while encouraging resuming local production of snake antivenom to improve the responsiveness of the already overburdened health system.

Keywords: Antivenom; Ecuador; Epidemiology; Public health; Serum; Snake antivenom; Snakebite.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antivenins* / therapeutic use
  • Ecuador
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Snake Bites* / epidemiology
  • Snakes


  • Antivenins