Special Issue "Interactions of Snake Venoms and Antivenoms: Prelude to Protection"

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Venoms".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Charles G. Sanny
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology,Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, 1111 W. 17th Street, Tulsa, OK 74107, USA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A fundamental tenant for the clinical use of antivenoms is that interactions between venoms and antivenoms (i.e., binding) must occur before there can be any protection against venom toxicity or lethality. Binding would therefore be a prelude to protection; however, binding does not guarantee protection. The relationship between binding and protection varies depending upon snake venom composition and the specific binding characteristics of the antivenom. The main focus of this Special Issue is to provide a forum for evaluating correlations between the in vitro quantitation of venom–antivenom binding and in vivo protection by antivenoms against venom toxicity or lethality.

Prof. Dr. Charles G. Sanny
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Snake venom
  • Antivenom
  • Interaction
  • Binding
  • Protection
  • Toxicity
  • Lethality

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Article
The Snake Study: Survey of National Attitudes and Knowledge in Envenomation
Toxins 2021, 13(7), 482; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13070482 - 12 Jul 2021
Viewed by 869
Abstract
Despite recent reviews of best practice for the treatment of Australian venomous bites and stings, there is controversy about some aspects of care, particularly the use of antivenom. Our aim was to understand current attitudes and practice in the management of suspected snake [...] Read more.
Despite recent reviews of best practice for the treatment of Australian venomous bites and stings, there is controversy about some aspects of care, particularly the use of antivenom. Our aim was to understand current attitudes and practice in the management of suspected snake envenoming. A single-stage, cross-sectional survey of Australian emergency care physicians who had treated snake envenomation in the previous 36 months was conducted. Hospital pharmacists were also invited to complete a survey about antivenom availability, usage, and wastage in Australian hospitals. The survey was available between 5 March and 16 June 2019. A total of 121 snake envenoming cases were reported, and more than a third (44.6%) of patients were not treated with antivenom. For those treated with antivenom (n = 67), 29 patients (43%) received more than one ampoule. Nearly a quarter of respondents (21%) identified that antivenom availability was, or could be, a barrier to manage snake envenoming, while cost was identified as the least important factor. Adverse reactions following antivenom use were described in 11.9% of cases (n = 8). The majority of patients with suspected envenoming did not receive antivenom. We noted variation in dosage, sources of information, beliefs, and approaches to the care of the envenomed patient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions of Snake Venoms and Antivenoms: Prelude to Protection)
Article
Effect of Indian Polyvalent Antivenom in the Prevention and Reversal of Local Myotoxicity Induced by Common Cobra (Naja naja) Venom from Sri Lanka In Vitro
Toxins 2021, 13(5), 308; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13050308 - 26 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 904
Abstract
Bites by many Asiatic and African cobras (Genus: Naja) cause severe local dermonecrosis and myonecrosis, resulting in permanent disabilities. We studied the time scale in which two Indian polyvalent antivenoms, VINS and Bharat, remain capable of preventing or reversing in vitro myotoxicity [...] Read more.
Bites by many Asiatic and African cobras (Genus: Naja) cause severe local dermonecrosis and myonecrosis, resulting in permanent disabilities. We studied the time scale in which two Indian polyvalent antivenoms, VINS and Bharat, remain capable of preventing or reversing in vitro myotoxicity induced by common cobra (Naja naja) venom from Sri Lanka using the chick biventer cervicis nerve-muscle preparation. VINS fully prevented while Bharat partially prevented (both in manufacturer recommended concentrations) the myotoxicity induced by Naja naja venom (10 µg/mL) when added to the organ baths before the venom. However, both antivenoms were unable to reverse the myotoxicity when added to organ baths 5 and 20 min post-venom. In contrast, physical removal of the venom from the organ baths by washing the preparation 5 and 20 min after the venom resulted in full and partial prevention of the myotoxicity, respectively, indicating the lag period for irreversible cellular injury. This suggests that, although the antivenoms contain antibodies against cytotoxins of the Sri Lankan Naja naja venom, they are either unable to reach the target sites as efficiently as the cytotoxins, unable to bind efficiently with the toxins at the target sites, or the binding with the toxins simply fails to prevent the toxin-target interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions of Snake Venoms and Antivenoms: Prelude to Protection)
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Article
Potency Testing of Venoms and Antivenoms in Embryonated Eggs: An Ethical Alternative to Animal Testing
Toxins 2021, 13(4), 233; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13040233 - 24 Mar 2021
Viewed by 770
Abstract
Venoms are complex mixtures of biologically active molecules that impact multiple physiological systems. Manufacture of antivenoms (AVs) therefore requires potency testing using in vivo models to ensure AV efficacy. As part of ongoing research to replace small animals as the standard model for [...] Read more.
Venoms are complex mixtures of biologically active molecules that impact multiple physiological systems. Manufacture of antivenoms (AVs) therefore requires potency testing using in vivo models to ensure AV efficacy. As part of ongoing research to replace small animals as the standard model for AV potency testing, we developed an alternate in vivo method using the embryonated egg model (EEM). In this model, the survival of chicken embryos envenomated in ovo is determined prior to 50% gestation, when they are recognized as animals by animal welfare legislation. Embryos were found to be susceptible to a range of snake, spider, and marine venoms. This included funnel-web spider venom for which the only other vertebrate, non-primate animal model is newborn mice. Neutralization of venom with standard AV allowed correlation of AV potency results from the EEM to results from animal assays. Our findings indicate that the EEM provides an alternative, insensate in vivo model for the assessment of AV potency. The EEM may enable reduction or replacement of the use of small animals, as longer-term research that enables the elimination of animal use in potency testing continues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions of Snake Venoms and Antivenoms: Prelude to Protection)
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Article
Pan-American Lancehead Pit-Vipers: Coagulotoxic Venom Effects and Antivenom Neutralisation of Bothrops asper and B. atrox Geographical Variants
Toxins 2021, 13(2), 78; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13020078 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1332
Abstract
The toxin composition of snake venoms and, thus, their functional activity, can vary between and within species. Intraspecific venom variation across a species’ geographic range is a major concern for antivenom treatment of envenomations, particularly for countries like French Guiana that lack a [...] Read more.
The toxin composition of snake venoms and, thus, their functional activity, can vary between and within species. Intraspecific venom variation across a species’ geographic range is a major concern for antivenom treatment of envenomations, particularly for countries like French Guiana that lack a locally produced antivenom. Bothrops asper and Bothrops atrox are the most medically significant species of snakes in Latin America, both producing a variety of clinical manifestations, including systemic bleeding. These pathophysiological actions are due to the activation by the venom of the blood clotting factors Factor X and prothrombin, thereby causing severe consumptive coagulopathy. Both species are extremely wide-ranging, and previous studies have shown their venoms to exhibit regional venom variation. In this study, we investigate the differential coagulotoxic effects on human plasma of six venoms (four B. asper and two B. atrox samples) from different geographic locations, spanning from Mexico to Peru. We assessed how the venom variation of these venom samples affects neutralisation by five regionally available antivenoms: Antivipmyn, Antivipmyn-Tri, PoliVal-ICP, Bothrofav, and Soro Antibotrópico (SAB). The results revealed both inter- and intraspecific variations in the clotting activity of the venoms. These variations in turn resulted in significant variation in antivenom efficacy against the coagulotoxic effects of these venoms. Due to variations in the venoms used in the antivenom production process, antivenoms differed in their species-specific or geographical neutralisation capacity. Some antivenoms (PoliVal-ICP, Bothrofav, and SAB) showed species-specific patterns of neutralisation, while another antivenom (Antivipmyn) showed geographic-specific patterns of neutralisation. This study adds to current knowledge of Bothrops venoms and also illustrates the importance of considering evolutionary biology when developing antivenoms. Therefore, these results have tangible, real-world implications by aiding evidence-based design of antivenoms for treatment of the envenomed patient. We stress that these in vitro studies must be backed by future in vivo studies and clinical trials before therapeutic guidelines are issued regarding specific antivenom use in a clinical setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions of Snake Venoms and Antivenoms: Prelude to Protection)
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Article
A Neurotoxic Snake Venom without Phospholipase A2: Proteomics and Cross-Neutralization of the Venom from Senegalese Cobra, Naja senegalensis (Subgenus: Uraeus)
Toxins 2021, 13(1), 60; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13010060 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1185
Abstract
The Senegalese cobra, Naja senegalensis, is a non-spitting cobra species newly erected from the Naja haje complex. Naja senegalensis causes neurotoxic envenomation in Western Africa but its venom properties remain underexplored. Applying a protein decomplexation proteomic approach, this study unveiled the unique [...] Read more.
The Senegalese cobra, Naja senegalensis, is a non-spitting cobra species newly erected from the Naja haje complex. Naja senegalensis causes neurotoxic envenomation in Western Africa but its venom properties remain underexplored. Applying a protein decomplexation proteomic approach, this study unveiled the unique complexity of the venom composition. Three-finger toxins constituted the major component, accounting for 75.91% of total venom proteins. Of these, cardiotoxin/cytotoxin (~53%) and alpha-neurotoxins (~23%) predominated in the venom proteome. Phospholipase A2, however, was not present in the venom, suggesting a unique snake venom phenotype found in this species. The venom, despite the absence of PLA2, is highly lethal with an intravenous LD50 of 0.39 µg/g in mice, consistent with the high abundance of alpha-neurotoxins (predominating long neurotoxins) in the venom. The hetero-specific VINS African Polyvalent Antivenom (VAPAV) was immunoreactive to the venom, implying conserved protein antigenicity in the venoms of N. senegalensis and N. haje. Furthermore, VAPAV was able to cross-neutralize the lethal effect of N. senegalensis venom but the potency was limited (0.59 mg venom completely neutralized per mL antivenom, or ~82 LD50 per ml of antivenom). The efficacy of antivenom should be further improved to optimize the treatment of cobra bite envenomation in Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions of Snake Venoms and Antivenoms: Prelude to Protection)
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Article
In Vitro Neurotoxicity of Chinese Krait (Bungarus multicinctus) Venom and Neutralization by Antivenoms
Toxins 2021, 13(1), 49; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13010049 - 11 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 819
Abstract
Bungarus multicinctus, the Chinese krait, is a highly venomous elapid snake which causes considerable morbidity and mortality in southern China. B. multicinctus venom contains pre-synaptic PLA2 neurotoxins (i.e., β-bungarotoxins) and post-synaptic neurotoxins (i.e., α-bungarotoxins). We examined the in vitro neurotoxicity of [...] Read more.
Bungarus multicinctus, the Chinese krait, is a highly venomous elapid snake which causes considerable morbidity and mortality in southern China. B. multicinctus venom contains pre-synaptic PLA2 neurotoxins (i.e., β-bungarotoxins) and post-synaptic neurotoxins (i.e., α-bungarotoxins). We examined the in vitro neurotoxicity of B. multicinctus venom, and the efficacy of specific monovalent Chinese B. multicinctus antivenom, and Australian polyvalent elapid snake antivenom, against venom-induced neurotoxicity. B. multicinctus venom (1–10 μg/mL) abolished indirect twitches in the chick biventer cervicis nerve-muscle preparation as well as attenuating contractile responses to exogenous ACh and CCh, but not KCl. This indicates a post-synaptic neurotoxic action but myotoxicity was not evident. Given that post-synaptic α-neurotoxins have a more rapid onset than pre-synaptic neurotoxins, the activity of the latter in the whole venom will be masked. The prior addition of Chinese B. multicinctus antivenom (12 U/mL) or Australian polyvalent snake antivenom (15 U/mL), markedly attenuated the neurotoxic actions of B. multicinctus venom (3 μg/mL) and prevented the inhibition of contractile responses to ACh and CCh. The addition of B. multicinctus antivenom (60 U/mL), or Australian polyvalent snake antivenom (50 U/mL), at the t90 time point after the addition of B. multicinctus venom (3 μg/mL), did not restore the twitch height over 180 min. The earlier addition of B. multicinctus antivenom (60 U/mL), at the t20 or t50 time points, also failed to prevent the neurotoxic effects of the venom but did delay the time to abolish twitches based on a comparison of t90 values. Repeated washing of the preparation with physiological salt solution, commencing at the t20 time point, failed to reverse the neurotoxic effects of venom or delay the time to abolish twitches. This study showed that B. multicinctus venom displays marked in vitro neurotoxicity in a skeletal muscle preparation which is not reversed by antivenom. This does not appear to be related to antivenom efficacy, but due to the irreversible/pseudo-irreversible nature of the neurotoxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions of Snake Venoms and Antivenoms: Prelude to Protection)
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Article
In-Vitro Neutralization of the Neurotoxicity of Coastal Taipan Venom by Australian Polyvalent Antivenom: The Window of Opportunity
Toxins 2020, 12(11), 690; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins12110690 - 31 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1053
Abstract
Coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) envenoming causes life-threatening neuromuscular paralysis in humans. We studied the time period during which antivenom remains effective in preventing and arresting in vitro neuromuscular block caused by taipan venom and taipoxin. Venom showed predominant pre-synaptic neurotoxicity at [...] Read more.
Coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) envenoming causes life-threatening neuromuscular paralysis in humans. We studied the time period during which antivenom remains effective in preventing and arresting in vitro neuromuscular block caused by taipan venom and taipoxin. Venom showed predominant pre-synaptic neurotoxicity at 3 µg/mL and post-synaptic neurotoxicity at 10 µg/mL. Pre-synaptic neurotoxicity was prevented by addition of Australian polyvalent antivenom before the venom and taipoxin and, reversed when antivenom was added 5 min after venom and taipoxin. Antivenom only partially reversed the neurotoxicity when added 15 min after venom and had no significant effect when added 30 min after venom. In contrast, post-synaptic activity was fully reversed when antivenom was added 30 min after venom. The effect of antivenom on pre-synaptic neuromuscular block was reproduced by washing the bath at similar time intervals for 3 µg/mL, but not for 10 µg/mL. We found an approximate 10–15 min time window in which antivenom can prevent pre-synaptic neuromuscular block. This time window is likely to be longer in envenomed patients due to the delay in venom absorption. Similar effectiveness of antivenom and washing with 3 µg/mL venom suggests that antivenom most likely acts by neutralizing pre-synaptic toxins before they interfere with neurotransmission inside the motor nerve terminals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions of Snake Venoms and Antivenoms: Prelude to Protection)
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Article
A Rapid and International Applicable Diagnostic Device for Cobra (Genus Naja) Snakebites
Toxins 2020, 12(9), 572; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins12090572 - 05 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 984
Abstract
Cobra snakes (genus Naja) are some of the most dangerous snake species in Asia and Africa, as their bites cause severe life-threatening respiratory failure and local tissue destruction, especially in the case of late diagnosis. The differential diagnosis of snakebite envenomation still [...] Read more.
Cobra snakes (genus Naja) are some of the most dangerous snake species in Asia and Africa, as their bites cause severe life-threatening respiratory failure and local tissue destruction, especially in the case of late diagnosis. The differential diagnosis of snakebite envenomation still mainly relies upon symptomatology, the patient’s description, and the experience of physicians. We have designed a rapid test, immunochromatographic test of cobra (ICT-Cobra), which obtained fair results in improving the diagnosis and treatment of Naja (N.) atra snakebites in Taiwan. In this study, we further investigated the feasibility of applying the kit for the detection of other cobra venoms based on the potential interspecies similarity. We firstly demonstrated the cross-reactivity between eight venoms of medically important cobra species and the rabbit anti-N. atra IgG that was used in ICT-Cobra by Western blotting and sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Then, ICT-Cobra was used to detect various concentrations of the eight venoms to elucidate its performance. Noticeable correlations between the cross-reactivity of venoms from genus Naja snakes and existing geographical characteristics were found. ICT-Cobra could detect venoms from other Asian cobras with variable detection limits comparable to those observed for N. atra, but the kit was less successful in the detection of venom from African cobras. The similar but slightly different venom components and the interaction between venom and rabbit anti-N. atra IgG led to variations in the detection limits. The transcontinental usage of ICT-Cobra might be possible due to the cross-reactivity of antibodies and similarities among the larger-sized proteins. This study showed that the close immunological relationships in the genus Naja could be used to develop a venom detection kit for the diagnosis of cobra envenomation in both Asian and African regions. Additional clinical studies and technical adjustments are still needed to improve the efficacy and broadening the application of ICT-Cobra in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions of Snake Venoms and Antivenoms: Prelude to Protection)
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