Multi Purpose Antivenom
The highest number of deaths due to snake bites occur in South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa.
The Thailand team maintains that this antivenom will be more affordable and provide a wider usage and that it will especially be available in regions where they need it most but lack resources.
Kavi Ratanabanangkoon, who is part of the Research Institute in Bangkok, describes how him and his colleagues collected 12 venom samples from six species of Asian snakes, including 4 cobras and 2 kraits.
What is described to be a common method for producing antivenom, the scientists then injected nonlethal amounts of the venoms into horses and harvested the antibodies they produce.
The most lethal venom proteins were first filtered out for nine of the 12 samples, having not enough venom to filter for the other 3, and the theory was using the most important proteins would allow the horses to produce an effective antivenom even though they were injected with a potent brew of multiple toxins.
The antivenom produced was then injected into mice that were previously injected with snake venom, and all the rodents recovered, this was reported by the scientist in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
What was even more remarkable was that the antivenom worked not only against the six species of snakes used in the study, but also against venoms from 12 related species.
The team is hopeful that the method can eventually produce a multipurpose antivenom against all snakes in the cobra family found in Asia and Africa. If the multipurpose antivenom does eventually hit the market, Ratanabanangkoon and his team stress that they intend to make it affordable and easily assessible.
“The process is so simple and we do not patent it,” says Ratanabanangkoon.