Development of a universal antivenom using proteomic characterisation of antigenic and immunogenic snake venom proteins

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

Snake envenomation has been identified as a neglected tropical disease responsible for a high morbidity and mortality rate, especially in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia. Consequently, the economic cost is beyond the capability of most low and middle-income countries. Antivenom immunoglobulins are the only therapeutic products that effectively neutralise snake envenomation. The lack of effective snake antivenom to treat snake envenoming has become a critical health issue. In this proposal, a new approach towards developing a highly effective antivenom is described with specific antigenic venom proteins precipitation as they bind with available specific monovalent or polyvalent antivenom. In line with the WHO's recognition for antivenom design and formulation, immunisation of specific snake venom mixtures could make effective antivenoms. The venom from Malaysian venomous snakes identified as medically significant includes Calloselasma rhodostoma, Cryptelytrops purpureomaculatus, Tropidolaemus wagleri, Naja kaouthia, and Naja sumatrana will be interacted against the selected monovalent and polyvalent antivenom by protein precipitation assay (via agarose gel diffusion). The antigenic proteins will be identified using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Our initial study using king cobra crude venom and king cobra antivenom using the agarose gel assay has revealed several antigenic protein families that interacted with the antivenom, such as L-amino acid oxidase and neurotoxins. The findings revealed critical antigenic toxins that are responsible for the production of antivenom in the host organism. Upon identification, the antigenic proteins will be obtained by either a purification approach using chromatography techniques or synthesising peptide sequences representing the antigenic proteins. Therefore, by examining the antigenic protein from the venom-antivenom interaction, it is possible to modify the immunogen formulation to increase the antivenom effectiveness against the more potent venom protein while reducing unnecessary antibodies that may predispose a patient to adverse antivenom reactions.
StatusNot started


  • Antigenic, Universal Antivenom, Venomous Snake, Proteomics