IISc Scientists Develop Synthetic Anti-Venom Against Snake Bite

Bengaluru: Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a synthetic human antibody that can neutralise a potent neurotoxin in the venom of cobra, king cobra, krait and black mamba.

The team at IISc’s Scripps Research Institute and the Evolutionary Venomics Lab (EVL) at the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) developed this new venom-neutralising antibody.

At present antivenoms are manufactured by injecting snake venom into equines like horses, ponies and mules, and collecting antibodies from their blood. So, antivenoms also include antibodies against microorganisms. Less than 10% of a vial of antivenom actually contains antibodies that are targeted towards snake venom toxins.

According to a press release of IISc, the synthetic antibody developed by the scientists team, according to an IISc press release, targets a conserved region found in the core of a major toxin called the three-finger toxin (3FTx) in the elapid venom.

The efficacy of the antibody was found to be nearly 15 times that of the conventional product, IISc said.

The researchers used human-derived cell lines to produce the antibody, bypassing the need to inject the venom first into animals like horses.

As it is an entirely human antibody and, hence, side-effects, including fatal anaphylaxis, occasionally observed in patients being treated with conventional antivenom can be prevented. The same approach can be used to develop antibodies against other snake venoms too.

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