- In the Indian cobra genome, the authors identified 19 key toxin genes, the only ones that should matter in snakebite treatment. They stress the need to leverage this knowledge for creation of antivenom using synthetic human antibodies.
- Targeting these 19 specific toxins using synthetic human antibodies should lead to a safe and effective antivenom for treating Indian cobra bites.
Important Info :
Why has production of effective antivenom been challenging?
- In India, the challenge has been producing antivenom for the species known collectively as the “big four” — the Indian cobra (Naja naja), common krait (Bungarus caeruleus), Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii), and saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus).
- Venom is a complex mixture of an estimated 140-odd protein or peptides.
- Antivenom is currently produced by a century-old process — a small amount of venom is injected into a horse (or a sheep), which produces antibodies that are then collected and developed into antivenom. This is expensive, cumbersome and comes with complications.
Source : Indian Express