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Toxins 2018, 10(11), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10110452

Innovative Immunization Strategies for Antivenom Development

1
Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José 11501-2060, Costa Rica
2
Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
3
Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, DK-2200 København N, Denmark
4
Instituto Clodomiro Picado, Facultad de Microbiología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José 11501-2060, Costa Rica
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 30 October 2018 / Published: 2 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snakebite – From Science to Society. Selected papers)
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Abstract

Snakes, scorpions, and spiders are venomous animals that pose a threat to human health, and severe envenomings from the bites or stings of these animals must be treated with antivenom. Current antivenoms are based on plasma-derived immunoglobulins or immunoglobulin fragments from hyper-immunized animals. Although these medicines have been life-saving for more than 120 years, opportunities to improve envenoming therapy exist. In the later decades, new biotechnological tools have been applied with the aim of improving the efficacy, safety, and affordability of antivenoms. Within the avenues explored, novel immunization strategies using synthetic peptide epitopes, recombinant toxins (or toxoids), or DNA strings as immunogens have demonstrated potential for generating antivenoms with high therapeutic antibody titers and broad neutralizing capacity. Furthermore, these approaches circumvent the need for venom in the production process of antivenoms, thereby limiting some of the complications associated with animal captivity and venom collection. Finally, an important benefit of innovative immunization approaches is that they are often compatible with existing antivenom manufacturing setups. In this review, we compile all reported studies examining venom-independent innovative immunization strategies for antivenom development. In addition, a brief description of toxin families of medical relevance found in snake, scorpion, and spider venoms is presented, as well as how biochemical, bioinformatic, and omics tools could aid the development of next-generation antivenoms. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal envenoming; antivenom development; immunization; synthetic epitope; recombinant toxin; DNA immunization; neutralization; omics technologies; bioinformatics; high-density peptide microarray technology; snakebite envenoming; scorpion envenoming; spider envenoming animal envenoming; antivenom development; immunization; synthetic epitope; recombinant toxin; DNA immunization; neutralization; omics technologies; bioinformatics; high-density peptide microarray technology; snakebite envenoming; scorpion envenoming; spider envenoming
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Bermúdez-Méndez, E.; Fuglsang-Madsen, A.; Føns, S.; Lomonte, B.; Gutiérrez, J.M.; Laustsen, A.H. Innovative Immunization Strategies for Antivenom Development. Toxins 2018, 10, 452.

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