Special Issue "Novel Strategies for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Snakebites"

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Venoms".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Sakthivel Vaiyapuri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Pharmacy, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6UB, UK
Interests: venom research; sequence, structure and functional analysis of venom proteins; development of diagnostic and improved therapeutic strategies for snakebites; impact of venoms on cardiovascular system

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Snakebite is a major neglected tropical disease that predominantly affects rural, agricultural populations living in developing countries. Snakebites cause as many as around 100,000 deaths each year, and many more disabilities and socioeconomic ramifications. Due to the complex nature of snake venoms and, thus, their multifaceted pathological actions, the development of diagnostic and improved treatment approaches for snakebites is challenging. In recent years, several scientists have started exploring various approaches in order to develop diagnostic tests to corroborate snakebite envenomation and improved therapeutics to effectively combat snakebite-induced pathological complications. The development of monovalent antivenoms, monoclonal antibodies, toxin-specific antibodies, and small molecule inhibitors for venom proteins are some of the recent achievements in the field of venom research. Moreover, the knowledge on the understanding of the sequence, structure, and functions of a diverse range of venom components has significantly increased in the last decade. Hence, this current issue is specifically focused on publishing the recent research activities towards developing novel strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of snakebites. This issue is expected to publish original research articles, reviews, and short communications in the broad area of venom research. Since Toxins is a well-known journal in the field of venom research, we strongly believe that the articles published in this issue will reach a wide audience and aid in the development of better diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for snakebites.

Dr. Sakthivel Vaiyapuri
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • snakebite
  • snake
  • venom
  • venom research
  • diagnostic test for snakebites
  • antivenom
  • treatment for snakebite
  • venom enzymes

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Immunogenic Properties of Recombinant Enzymes from Bothrops ammodytoides towards the Generation of Neutralizing Antibodies against Its Own Venom
Toxins 2019, 11(12), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11120702 - 02 Dec 2019
Abstract
Bothropic venoms contain enzymes such as metalloproteases, serine-proteases, and phospholipases, which acting by themselves, or in synergism, are the cause of the envenomation symptoms and death. Here, two mRNA transcripts, one that codes for a metalloprotease and another for a serine-protease, were isolated [...] Read more.
Bothropic venoms contain enzymes such as metalloproteases, serine-proteases, and phospholipases, which acting by themselves, or in synergism, are the cause of the envenomation symptoms and death. Here, two mRNA transcripts, one that codes for a metalloprotease and another for a serine-protease, were isolated from a Bothrops ammodytoides venom gland. The metalloprotease and serine-protease transcripts were cloned on a pCR®2.1-TOPO vector and consequently expressed in a recombinant way in E. coli (strains Origami and M15, respectively), using pQE30 vectors. The recombinant proteins were named rBamSP_1 and rBamMP_1, and they were formed by an N-terminal fusion protein of 16 amino acid residues, followed by the sequence of the mature proteins. After bacterial expression, each recombinant enzyme was recovered from inclusion bodies and treated with chaotropic agents. The experimental molecular masses for rBamSP_1 and rBamMP_1 agreed with their expected theoretical ones, and their secondary structure spectra obtained by circular dichroism were comparable to that of similar proteins. Additionally, equivalent mixtures of rBamSP_1, rBamMP_1 together with a previous reported recombinant phospholipase, rBamPLA2_1, were used to immunize rabbits to produce serum antibodies, which in turn recognized serine-proteases, metalloproteases and PLA2s from B. ammodytoides and other regional viper venoms. Finally, rabbit antibodies neutralized the 3LD50 of B. ammodytoides venom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Strategies for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Snakebites)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Philodryas (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) Envenomation, a Neglected Issue in Chile
Toxins 2019, 11(12), 697; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11120697 - 29 Nov 2019
Abstract
Snakebite envenomation is considered a neglected tropical disease, although it also occurs outside the tropics. In this work, we analyzed the literature on Philodryas species in Chile (Philodryas chamissonis, P. simonsii, and P. tachymenoides) from 1834 to 2019, searching [...] Read more.
Snakebite envenomation is considered a neglected tropical disease, although it also occurs outside the tropics. In this work, we analyzed the literature on Philodryas species in Chile (Philodryas chamissonis, P. simonsii, and P. tachymenoides) from 1834 to 2019, searching for epidemiological, clinical, and molecular aspects of envenomation. Ninety-one percent of the studies found regarded taxonomy, ecology, and natural history, suggesting that snakebites and venom toxins are a neglected issue in Chile. All snakebite cases reported and toxicological studies concerned the species Philodryas chamissonis. Using 185 distributional records from the literature and museum collections for this species, we show for the first time that the reported snakebite cases correlate with human population density, occurring in the Valparaiso and Metropolitan regions in Central Chile. The reduced number of snakebite cases, which were previously considered as having a low incidence in Chile, may be a consequence of under-reported cases, probably due to the inadequate publication or scarce research on this issue. Absence of information about official pharmacological treatment, post-envenoming sequels, clinical management of particular patient groups (e.g., with non-communicable diseases, pregnant women, and the elderly) was also detected. In conclusion, despite having over 185 years of literature on Chilean snakes, knowledge on the envenomation of Philodryas genus remains scarce, seriously affecting adequate medical handling during an ophidic accident. This review highlights the need to develop deep research in this area and urgent improvements to the management of this disease in Chile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Strategies for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Snakebites)
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Open AccessReview
The Urgent Need to Develop Novel Strategies for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Snakebites
Toxins 2019, 11(6), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11060363 - 20 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Snakebite envenoming (SBE) is a priority neglected tropical disease, which kills in excess of 100,000 people per year. Additionally, many millions of survivors also suffer through disabilities and long-term health consequences. The only treatment for SBE, antivenom, has a number of major associated [...] Read more.
Snakebite envenoming (SBE) is a priority neglected tropical disease, which kills in excess of 100,000 people per year. Additionally, many millions of survivors also suffer through disabilities and long-term health consequences. The only treatment for SBE, antivenom, has a number of major associated problems, not least, adverse reactions and limited availability. This emphasises the necessity for urgent improvements to the management of this disease. Administration of antivenom is too frequently based on symptomatology, which results in wasting crucial time. The majority of SBE-affected regions rely on broad-spectrum polyvalent antivenoms that have a low content of case-specific efficacious immunoglobulins. Research into small molecular therapeutics such as varespladib/methyl-varespladib (PLA2 inhibitors) and batimastat/marimastat (metalloprotease inhibitors) suggest that such adjunctive treatments could be hugely beneficial to victims. Progress into toxin-specific monoclonal antibodies as well as alternative binding scaffolds such as aptamers hold much promise for future treatment strategies. SBE is not implicit during snakebite, due to venom metering. Thus, the delay between bite and symptom presentation is critical and when symptoms appear it may often already be too late to effectively treat SBE. The development of reliable diagnostical tools could therefore initiate a paradigm shift in the treatment of SBE. While the complete eradication of SBE is an impossibility, mitigation is in the pipeline, with new treatments and diagnostics rapidly emerging. Here we critically review the urgent necessity for the development of diagnostic tools and improved therapeutics to mitigate the deaths and disabilities caused by SBE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Strategies for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Snakebites)
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