“Extracting and Transforming Viper Venom and Activities in the Caribbean Region”

“Extracting and Transforming Viper Venom and
other bio toxins into Lifesaving and Livelihood
Activities in the Caribbean Region”
2nd Caribbean ABS Workshop,
25 - 29 November 2013,
Kingston, Jamaica.‫‏‬
By: Laurent Jean Pierre
Biosphere (biological) & Ethnosphere
(cultural) = Complete Web of Life
Biodiversity + Culture = Biocultural
Our survival depends on the sustainable
use of the Biocultural Diversity heritage
The true web of life consist of: diversity in both nature and culture. It’s a living
made up of the millions of species of plants and animals that have evolved
on Earth, and of the thousands of human cultures and languages that have
developed over time.
Languages, cultures, and ecosystems are interdependent. They’re
bound together through the myriad ways in which people have interacted
with the natural environment. Through a diversity of cultural traditions and
practices, in a great variety of natural environments, human communities
have acquired invaluable knowledge of how to achieve harmony with
nature. Biocultural diversity is both the source and the expression of all the
beauty and potential of life on Earth.
- See more at: http://www.terralingua.org/#sthash.M8jziomz.dpuf
Biosphere - Flora and Fauna are the main sources for lifesaving &
livelihood Activities of Local Communities – Health & Wealth
Examine and/or Discussion
Five activities (Fauna and Flora) & TRAMIL
Caribbean a biodiversity hotspot – high endemism
1. Cuban Scorpion – anti–cancer venom
2. St. Lucia viper – antidote to snake venom
3. Aristolaca-twef – emesis (inducing Vomiting) etc
4. Cassava – Multipurpose, food security, medicine, etc
5. Anba Kontwè – Spice Rum (Case for Access & Benefit
Cuba - scorpions used as anti cancer
Rophalorus junceus - Cuban Endemic Scorpion, Blue scorpion, Poison
The venom of the scorpion was used in traditional medicine to apply under the
Cuban stomach in case of urinary retention and improvement of some diseases
Recent Scientific Research –
Vidatox is a drug produced from five protein peptides extracted
from the venom of the blue scorpion (Rophalorus junceus), which
is endemic to Cuba and which has analgesic, anti-inflammatory
and anti-carcinogenic effect in more than 15 different cancer cell
lines. The result of 15 years of research, by October 2010 Vidatox had
been tested on more than 10,000 cancer patients, some 3,500 of them
foreigners, with positive results both in improving quality of life and
stopping tumour growth.
Labiofam a Cuban pharmaceutical laboratory, is set to release a
new homeopathic cancer drug to the international market.
The Product is Marketed in Latin America, Canada – CD$200,
Europe, Asia & the Caribbean
Future - The Company is all set to register its
homeopathic version soon and go for its commercial
production. The medication, and Labiofam says that its
homeopathic version should be registered soonest and
could be commercially produced immediately. González
added that the company would continue research to
produce synthetic or biotechnological versions of the
* Farming for sustainability…. http://
Success story?
Saint Lucia Viper - Venom for antivenom, research hypertension
Bothrops caribbaeus -ST. Lucian Endemic – Local name: Fer de lance
Status -Threatened species
Distribution – Praslin, Louvette, Grand Anse, Anse La Raye,
Barre de L’isle
•  Fer-de-lance, *Bothrops caribbaeus*, venom is now avaliable from
the Kentucky Reptile Zoo (KRZ) at a price of US$250 per gram.
KRZ also has a captive breeding program for venomous snakes
and has bred *B.
caribbaeus *from specimens captured in Saint Lucia. Their price
list is at this link;
* Bothrops caribbaeus US$250 per gram
Kentucky Reptile Zoo (KRZ-USA) – Ex - Situ
* Private owners Jim Harrison & Kristen Wiley
* No legal clarity - MOU, PIC & MAT
* Research and Monitoring lacking…
* Lack of Legal certainty, vigilance/check points?
* Is this a case of Bio-Piracy?
Price from US$75 to US$600 per gram
* How can the trustees achieve Access & Benefit Sharing –fair & equitable?
* People in St. Lucia are still dying from snake bites…Post Donation
* How do we obtain access &/or share benefits – Product derived from
genetic resources?
• Future Measures – Implementation of Nagoya Protocol (ABS) to address
benefit-sharing arising from the utilization of genetic resources.
• IUCN Red list – Wildlife Protection Act, CITES
• KRZ contract or repatriation
Manihot esculenta Crantz
Manyòk. Cassava
Amerindian legacy – Toxicity transformation to edible staple crop
Added value – cereal etc
Alleged health benefits – anti cancerous (Colon cancer)
Food security, safety, sovereignty
Medicinal benefits – potential? R&D
Toxic Substance – Cyanide for life?
Detoxify for usage in medicine (In vivo & in vitro)
Aristolochia trilobata Linnaeus
Twef (kawayib)
Traditional Local uses - emesis (inducing Vomiting) stomach ache etc
Present Research uses - For the first time an anti-microbial activity is
reported for Aristolochia trilobata as well as for Syngonium podophyllum.
The hexane extracts of Aristolochia trilobata leaves and bark were the most
active extracts against Staphylococcus aureus (MIC=0.31 and 0.625mg/ml,
Research Future – antipoison, detoxification?
Toxicity warning!
“They have reportedly been used in the past to poison humans.”
Julia Morton, Atlas of Medicinal Plants of Middle America, 1981
Anba Kontwè – Spice Rum
•  Mixture of several selected plants and
sometimes centipedes and scorpions and
•  Traditional & Local use: aphrodisiac, anti-poison,
•  Present Rum – St. Lucia Distillers Ltd.
•  Prices US$7.00 per bottle
•  Name Brands
•  Kwéyòl Spice Rum
•  Ingredients - infused with Bois Bandé
Kwéyòl Spice Rum
As part of Creole heritage our spice rum combines local spice such as
nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Kweyol Spice contains a vanilla pod in
the bottle and this imparts a rounded mellow flavour to the rum. We
firmly believe this is one of the finest spice rums and have won
numerous medals for the product.
St Lucia Distillers Ltd.
ABS - Benefit sharing from Inter and Intra bioprospecters for TK
Chairman’s Reserve Spiced
Ingredients – Authentic Caribbean spices, cinnamon, cloves,
nutmeg, vanilla, and Richeria grandis, locally known as
Bois Bandé to create a genuine St. Lucian Experience.
Traditional usage: In the French West Indies, an infusion of
the crushed bark is taken as an aphrodisiac and as treatment
for syphilis. Morton, 1981.
Price US$30.00
Further study:
Valorization possible for the following:
Zanthoxylum spinifex -Rutaceae
Chiococca alba - Rubiaceae
Chione venosa – Rubiaceae
Benefit Sharing – Taxation for Local hospitals and
alcohol rehabilitation (substance abuse) institutions –
List of TRAMIL Plants for Further and Future Investigation
Research Opportunities
Gave Birth to Phytobokaz (Guadeloupe) & Eden Herbs (St Lucia)
•  Crescentia cujete – Kalbas, calabash(blood clots)
•  Ricinus communis – Makwisti, Castrr oil plant
•  Argemone mexicana – Tramil
•  Mammea americana– Zabwiko, Apricot, Mammee apple - Tramil
•  Nicotiana tabacum- Tabak, Tobacco (asthma)
•  Capsicum frutescens – bird pepper, Piman Gwiv (insecticide)
•  Anacardium occidentale - Nwa, cashew nut (hernia in men)
•  Mangifera indica – mango (Tramil)
•  Gossypium barbadensis – kòtòn, cotton (gas)
Multipurpose plants research
Biocultural Research key for future Development?
Large Scale Enterprises for Economic Impact?
Dig deep into our own natural and cultural heritage to unearth hidden
treasures/solutions. Through research and the marriage of both ethnoscience
and conventional system we may find the economic solutions to cushion and
assist our local challenges.
Tagore Quote….. Life, moral or physical, is not a completed fact, but a
continual process, depending for its movement upon two contrary forces, the
force of resistance and that of expression. Dividing these forces into two
mutually opposing principles does not help us, for the truth dwells not in the
opposition but in its continual reconciliation.
"Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don't have any
problems, you don't get any seeds." - Norman Vincent Peale (1898 - 1993),
American Author
"Problems can become opportunities when the right people come together." Robert Redford (1936 - ), American Film Director and Actor
Paradox – Perhaps the Cure is in the poison itself? Let the Exploration continue!
Morton, 1981, Atlas of Medicinal Plants of Middle America, 1981
St Lucia Distilleries Ltd - http://www.saintluciarums.com/kweyol-spice.html
Caribbean Herbal Pharmacopoeia – TRAMIL – www.tramil.net
RabindranathTagore - https://www.google.com/#q=tagore+quotes
Robert Redford (1936 - ), American Film Director and Actor
Norman Vincent Peale (1898 - 1993), American Author