IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


23rd February, 2024 Health


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Picture Courtesy: https://www.offgridweb.com/preparation/infographic-snake-bite-first-aid/

Context: Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) developed a synthetic human antibody that neutralizes toxins from various venomous snakes like cobra, krait, and black mamba.

Key Highlights



Key Points


Snakebites, especially from Elapid snakes (cobra, krait, etc.), cause thousands of deaths annually, particularly in India and sub-Saharan Africa.

Highlights the need for more effective and accessible antidotes.

Current Solution:

Traditional antivenom involves injecting venom into horses, collecting antibodies from their blood, and purifying them.

Issues include limited availability, high cost, potential allergic reactions, and the presence of non-venom antibodies.

IISc Innovation:

Developed a synthetic human antibody that neutralizes a key neurotoxin (3FTx) found in Elapid venom.

This approach bypasses animals, reduces production time and cost, and ensures human compatibility.

Key Features:

Targets a conserved region in 3FTx, providing broad protection against various Elapid snakes.

Achieved 99% binding success with 149 known 3FTx variants.


More effective: Showed 15 times higher efficacy than conventional antivenom in animal models.

Faster acting: Neutralized venom even when injected after a time delay (unlike traditional antivenom).

Future Steps:

Further testing in larger animals and clinical trials.

Optimization for large-scale production and distribution.

Must Read Articles:

SNAKE VENOM: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/snake-venom


Q. A researcher identifies a conserved region in a snake venom toxin that exhibits high binding affinity to a synthetic human antibody. This finding suggests that the antibody could potentially offer protection against:

A) Only the specific snake species from which the toxin was isolated.

B) Only snakes within the same genus as the source species.

C) A wide range of snakes within the same family as the source species.

D) All venomous snakes, regardless of family or species.

Answer: C


While the antibody might not neutralize all snake venoms, targeting a conserved region within a family-specific toxin increases its potential for broad protection against snakes within that family (option C).