HEALTH

Researchers create a human antibody to counteract the neurotoxic venom of the King Cobra

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and other countries have collaborated to create a synthetic human antibody that is capable of neutralizing the neurotoxic secreted by the extremely lethal Elapidae family of snakes.

The Elapidae family of poisonous snakes is distinguished by its very lethal venom and its members’ small, fixed fangs located at the front of the mouth. These consist of the black mamba, krait, cobra, and king cobra.

The researchers searched for the human antibody using a methodology like to that which was used by scientists to explore antibodies against Covid-19 and HIV. They are optimistic that this new discovery will further their efforts to create a universal antibody defense against a range of snake species.
“This is the first time that this specific approach is being used to develop antibodies for the treatment of snakebite,” notes co-first author of the research and EVL, CES PhD student Senji Laxme RR.

Cobra poison
According to research that was published in Science Translational Medicine, the antibody worked by imitating how poisons bound to their receptors in order to protect mice against envenomation.

Thousands of people die from snakebites each year in India and sub-Saharan Africa, where the poisonous bite is still a major source of worry worldwide.

Throughout their lives, these creatures are exposed to a variety of germs and viruses. Antibodies against microbes are thus also included in antivenoms, which is therapeutically redundant. Less than 10% of antivenom vials have antibodies against snake venom toxins, according to research, according to Kartik Sunagar, an associate professor at CES and co-corresponding author of the paper.

The recently created antibody targets a conserved area that is present in the center of the three-finger toxin (3FTx), a significant toxin present in the venom of elapids.

The King Cobra
They produced a large library of synthetic antibodies that were shown on the surfaces of yeast cells, and among them they found one that firmly attached to a variety of 3FTxs, a class of snake venom proteins distinguished by the structure resembling three fingers.

Strong binding was shown by this one antibody to 99 of the 149 3FTx variations that could be located in public sources. In mice used for animal research, a synthetic antibody and a poisonous 3FTx from the Taiwanese banded krait were injected together.

Mice that were administered solely the poison did not survive the 24-hour observation period. Comparable favorable outcomes against the venom of black mambas and monocled cobras demonstrated the antibody’s efficacy, which is over fifteen times more than that of conventional products.

The venom did not need to be injected into horses or other animals beforehand since the researchers were able to manufacture the antibodies using human-derived cell lines. Laxme continues, “We don’t expect any off-target or allergic responses because the antibody is fully human.”

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