Antivenoms for the treatment of snakebite envenomings: The road ahead

José María Gutiérrez, Guillermo León, Thierry Burnouf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The parenteral administration of antivenoms is the cornerstone of snakebite envenoming therapy. Efforts are made to ensure that antivenoms of adequate efficacy and safety are available world-wide. We address the main issues to be considered for the development and manufacture of improved antivenoms. Those include: (a) A knowledge-based composition design of venom mixtures used for immunization, based on biochemical, immunological, toxicological, taxonomic, clinical and epidemiological data; (b) a careful selection and adequate management of animals used for immunization; (c) well-designed immunization protocols; (d) sound innovations in plasma fractionation protocols to improve recovery, tolerability and stability of antivenoms; (e) the use of recombinant toxins as immunogens to generate antivenoms and the synthesis of engineered antibodies to substitute for animal-derived antivenoms; (f) scientific studies of the contribution of existing manufacturing steps to the inactivation or removal of viruses and other zoonotic pathogens; (g) the introduction of novel quality control tests; (h) the development of in vitro assays in substitution of in vivo tests to assess antivenom potency; and (i) scientifically-sound pre-clinical and clinical assessments of antivenoms. These tasks demand cooperative efforts at all main stages of antivenom development and production, and need concerted international partnerships between key stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalBiologicals
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Antivenom
  • Envenoming
  • Immunization
  • Plasma fractionation
  • Quality control
  • Snakebite
  • Venom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Pharmacology

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