Vaccine expert leads assessment of RITM-BMD antivenom production

In photo: BMD Chief Dr. Noel Macalalad leading the discussion on antivenom production with Dr. David Williams, Head of the University of Melbourne Australian Venom Research Unit, and Dr. Jinho Shin, Medical Officer from the WHO Western Pacific Region

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), through its Biologicals Manufacturing Division (BMD), held a discussion with University of Melbourne Australian Venom Research Unit (AVRU) Head Dr. David Williams on June 4, 2019 at the RITM Training Center.

Dr. Williams was sought by the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines to provide assistance in improving the technical capacity of RITM-BMD in the implementation of training program and conduct of adventitious agent testing, regular monitoring of the conduct of tests and development of study/protocols/guidelines in method validation.

Along with WHO Western Pacific Region Representatives Dr. Jinho Shin and Ms. Ghenimelle Pasumbal, Dr. Williams led the initial meeting, followed by a visit at the RITM Veterinary Research Division (VRD) Animal Laboratory and Experimental Animal Facility Annex in Los Baños, Laguna. A series of facility site visits from June 4 to June 7 constitutes the assessment of the RITM-BMD antivenom production. Afterwards, the AVRU is set to receive samples of antivenom produced by RITM-BMD and venom from the Northern Philippines cobras Naja philippinensis for physicochemical and antivenomic assessment for potency, composition and presence of contaminants.

In 2018, RITM-BMD applied for the license-to-operate as a manufacturer from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (PFDA). Through the assessment, RITM-BMD aims to identify the needs and resources to support the implementation of various quality control tests listed in the WHO Guidelines for the Production, Control and Regulation of Snake Antivenom Immunoglobulins.

by Ma. Patricia Lansang, Project Evaluation Officer II, Communication and Engagement Office