Cross-neutralisation of Australian brown and tiger snake venoms with commercial antivenoms: Cross-reactivity or antivenom mixtures?

M O'LEARY, Jennifer Schneider, B Krishnan, C Lavis, A McKendry, L Ong, Geoffrey Isbister

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Recently it has been suggested that the Australian snake antivenoms made by CSL Ltd. are in fact not truly monovalent and may contain antibodies to other snake venoms because the horses are injected with multiple snake venoms. It is unclear to what extent various monovalent antivenoms can neutralise the effect of other venoms, whether this is due to a mixture of antibodies or true cross-reactivity, and whether this has any clinical significance. We aimed to study the immunological and functional properties of brown snake (Pseudonaja spp.) antivenom (BSAV) and tiger snake (Notechis spp.) antivenom (TSAV) against their respective venoms using enzyme immunoassays (EIA) and in vitro clotting studies. There was significant overlap between the two antivenoms with both TSAV and BSAV being detected by EIA on brown snake venom (BSV)-coated and tiger snake venom (TSV)-coated wells, respectively. In a competition EIA, increasing amounts of immunoaffinity-purified hen anti-brown antibodies (IgYp) mixed with TSAV reduced TSAV measured on TSV-coated wells. Both BSAV and TSAV prevented the clotting activity of both venoms. IgYp also prevented the clotting activity of TSV, suggesting true cross-reactivity. The cross-reactivity of TSAV and BSAV with BSV and TSV, respectively, was likely due to each being a mixture of anti-brown and anti-tiger antibodies, but there was partial cross-reactivity demonstrated by the effect of IgYp. Single-polyvalent antivenom for brown snake and tiger snake may be feasible in the future. � 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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