Antivenom Earthquake Recovery

To friends, and colleagues, and people whose lives have been improved by the phenomenal venom and antivenom work that has historically taken place at the Institute of Biotechnology in Cuernavaca: the team of researchers that has helped all of us in the past now needs our help.

As my FaceBook friends know, I am the director of a research unit in Arizona, which collaborates very directly with the Institute of Biotechnology every day. If you aren't familiar with our work, please take a look at my blog,; or at for the educational project now underway in sub-Saharan Africa.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that took place in Mexico today, on September 19, 2017, was centered very near the laboratories where treatments have been developed, that in recent years have benefitted over 1000 people per day. Treatments they have designed or improved include:

• Scorpion antivenom for Mexico and the USA
• Rattlesnake antivenom for North and South America
• Coral Snake antivenom for Florida
• Snakebite antivenom for Sub-Saharan Africa
• Snakebite antivenom for the Middle East and North Africa
• Scorpion antivenom for the Middle East and North Africa
• Brown Recluse and Black Widow spider antivenoms
• Veterinary antivenoms

I have heard, briefly, from Dr. Alagón that the people in his laboratory survived, and that they are walking through the damaged area in an effort to return to their homes now. The damage is still ongoing, and it is too early to know what it will take to help these incredible scientists and technologists recover, but it is already clear that funding will be needed, fast, for many things:

• Salvage of any materials and projects that are not irreparably damaged
• Rescue and care for animals in the IBt facility
• Replacement of instruments and materials
• Food and housing for those left without

It will be impossible to estimate the cost of recovery, until more information becomes available. For now, as a colleague familiar with the laboratory, I estimate that $50,000 will be needed to cover the short-term costs of

• emergency transportation of people as needed, to medical care
• transportation of animals and salvageable materials to safety
• refrigeration units for salvageable venom and serum specimens
• food, shelter and transportation for people involved in rescue and salvage efforts

I expect to hear more from folks at the Alagón lab, once things settle down. In the mean time it is obvious: they need our help. I will be putting the first $1000 into this fundraiser, as soon as I finish setting it up. Please, please help.

UPDATE: The GoFundMe administrators have pointed out that it's important for transparency to explain how the funds will reach their intended target. Because we're dealing with a lab in an earthquake zone, in Mexico, it's not going to work for the beneficiaries to withdraw directly from this account. So I plan to make withdrawals directly, then to transfer the funds via private channels to Dr. Alejandro Alagón in Cuernavaca. Each time I do that, I'll post a notification here explaining the latest, so that everyone can see how your donations are being used.
  • Daniel Jarvus 
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    • $1,000 
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Leslie Boyer 
Tucson, AZ
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