20 years ago today, The Center for the Study of Venoms and Venomous Animals (CEVAP) became an official São Paulo State University (UNESP) research unit.
Based in Botucatu, a city in Southeastern Brazil, CEVAP was founded as a center for world class expertise on venomous animals, their toxins and derivatives.
Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases (JVATiTD) is the official journal of CEVAP, and has published 13 open access articles since transferring to BioMed Central in February 2013. Editor-in-Chief Professor Benedito Barraviera is the executive co-ordinator of CEVAP.
According to Prof Barraviera, the center’s 20th anniversary as an official UNESP research unit is “an opportunity to promote education and environmental preservation, spread knowledge about reptilian and amphibian species in the region, to stimulate discussion among UNESP researchers and students, and to expand CEVAP’s network of collaboration with other research and production centers in Brazil.” He added that “[…] in these 20 years of existence, CEVAP has been contributing to the resolution of problems that affect the Brazilian community by internationalizing its research, making it competitive and cutting edge”.
CEVAP plays a key educational role in the region and has pioneered in its provision of long-distance and internet-based postgraduate courses. In 1999, the center created the first toxinology virtual specialization course in Brazil and Latin America. Today, CEVAP offers a wide range of in-house and long-distance graduate and specialization courses related to toxinology and venomous animals.
The center has carried out important work in the production of antivenom serum, for the immunization of livestock and humans to certain types of venom. CEVAP researchers have also innovated in the development of venom-derived fibrin glue for surgical use in tissue repair.
The novel fibrin sealant – produced using rattlesnake venom fractions and fibrinogen protein in human or buffalo blood – has remarkable coagulative and regenerative properties, as documented on the Globo Rural television review in May 2009 (available at http://youtu.be/kjpZdxpp-5M).
Fibrin glue derived from snake venom has been used to speed up healing after skin tumor removal, for motor recovery and synaptic preservation after ventral root avulsion and as a viable alternative to sutures in gingival grafts.
CEVAP is celebrating its 20th anniversary over the next few days with guided visits of their serpentarium, activities for primary and middle-school children and courses on laboratory techniques and venomous animals run by CEVAP researchers.
Journal Development Editor