Preclinical assessment of the efficacy of a new antivenom (EchiTAb-Plus-ICP) for the treatment of viper envenoming in sub-Saharan Africa.
Segura A., Villalta M., Herrera M., León G., Harrison R., Durfa N., Nasidi A., Calvete JJ., Theakston RDG., Warrell DA., Gutiérrez JM.
A preclinical assessment was performed on the neutralizing efficacy of a whole IgG polyspecific antivenom (EchiTAb-Plus-ICP), designed for the treatment of snakebite envenomings in Nigeria. It was generated by immunizing horses with the venoms of Echis ocellatus, Bitis arietans and Naja nigricollis, the most medically important species in Nigeria. Antivenom was tested against the venoms of E. ocellatus, Echis leucogaster, Echis pyramidum leakeyi, B. arietans, Bitis gabonica, Bitis rhinoceros and Bitis nasicornis. The neutralization of the venom toxins responsible for the lethal, hemorrhagic, coagulant and local necrotizing activities was assessed, since these are the most significant effects that characterize envenoming by these species. Echis sp venoms exerted lethal, hemorrhagic, coagulant and necrotizing effects, whereas the Bitis sp venoms tested induced lethality, hemorrhage and necrosis, but were devoid of coagulant activity. The antivenom was effective in the neutralization of all effects tested in all venoms. Highest neutralization was achieved against the venoms of E. ocellatus and B. arietans, and the lowest neutralizing potency was against the venom of B. nasicornis, a species that has a low clinical relevance. It is concluded that EchiTAb-Plus-ICP, whilst specifically designed for Nigeria, has a good preclinical neutralizing profile against homologous and heterologous viperid venoms from other sub-Saharan African locations. It therefore constitutes a promising therapeutic option for the treatment of snakebite envenoming in this region.