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Antivenom: An immunotherapy for the treatment of snakebite envenoming in sub-Saharan Africa

Mender, Mender M., Bolton, Fiona, Berry, Colin ORCID: and Young, Mark ORCID: 2022. Antivenom: An immunotherapy for the treatment of snakebite envenoming in sub-Saharan Africa. Donev, Rossen, ed. Immunotherapeutics, Vol. 129. Advances in Protein Chemistry and Structural Biology, ELSEVIER ACADEMIC PRESS INC, pp. 435-477. (10.1016/bs.apcsb.2021.11.004)

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Snakebite envenoming (SBE) leads to significant morbidity and mortality, resulting in over 90,000 deaths and approximately 400,000 amputations annually. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) alone, SBE accounts for over 30,000 deaths per annum. Since 2017, SBE has been classified as a priority Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The major species responsible for mortality from SBE within SSA are from the Bitis, Dendroaspis, Echis and Naja genera. Pharmacologically active toxins such as metalloproteinases, serine proteinases, 3-finger toxins, kunitz-type toxins, and phospholipase A2s are the primary snake venom components. These toxins induce cytotoxicity, coagulopathy, hemorrhage, and neurotoxicity in envenomed victims. Antivenom is currently the only available venom-specific treatment for SBE and contains purified equine or ovine polyclonal antibodies, collected from donor animals repeatedly immunized with low doses of adjuvanted venom. The resulting plasma or serum contains a high titre of specific antibodies, which can then be collected and stored until required. The purified antibodies are either whole IgG, monovalent fragment antibody (Fab) or divalent fragment antibody F(ab’)2. Despite pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic differences, all three are effective in the treatment of SBE. No antivenom is without adverse reactions but, the level of their impact and severity varies from benign early adverse reactions to the rarely occurring fatal anaphylactic shock. However, the major side effects are largely reversible with immediate administration of adrenaline and corticosteroids. There are 16 different antivenoms marketed within SSA, but the efficacy and safety profiles are only published for less than 50% of these products.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
ISBN: 9780323992275
ISSN: 1876-1623
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 08:04

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