Application of Snake-Venom and Technology of Antivenom Manufactory

Chien-Hsin Liu, Chia-jung Lee, Rung Li, Ching-Lun Hsu, Chao-Hung Chen, Shiao-Chi Chang, Wen-Chin Hsieh

2015 Vol.31 NO.4

Correspondence Author: Chien-Hsin Liu

  • Center for Research, Diagnostics and Vaccine Development, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan


       The snake venom containing toxic proteins as well as co-enzymes is milked from the venom gland of snake. The composition of venom is very complex for which each individual venom component has particular characteristics of toxicity, pharmacology and can cause different clinical symptoms. Based on pharmacological effects, venoms can be classified into neurological type venom, hemorrhagic type venom and mixed type venom. The knowledge, learned from investigations of venom proteins on pharmacological properties, molecular biology and chemical structure, is applied in the medicinal manufacturing and clinical testing. Recently, peptide compounds with anticoagulation function from snake venoms have been certified as drugs to treat angina, inflammation, diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain and stroke. In order to identify patients bitten by Bungarus multicintus and Naja atra, specific antibodies were prepared and purified by mass spectrometry and immuno-precipitation method from our homemade horse anti-plasma, and have successfully identified the toxic protein in the tissue fluid of the patient. Development of this detection technology platform is going to be applied to the clinical differential diagnosis and improve the cure rate for patients. In cases of snakebite poisoning, implementing correct antivenom in time is still the most effective treatment.  The horses  are  commonly  used  as manufacturing  animals in large amounts to prepare antivenoms. Injection of the crude venom to horse stimulates the immune system to generate neutralizing antibodies against toxins, followed by separation of the antiserum, collected from horses, adding gastric proteases (pepsin) to harvest F (ab')2 fragments after purification, finalized by the vacuum freeze-drying step. Data show that the lyophilized antivenom produced by this process not only is effective in treating patients bitten by domestic snakes, but also is quite low in the occurrence rate of side effects.

Keywords:poisonous snake;snakevenom;antivenom