Snakebite envenoming is a neglected public pathology, affecting especially rural communities or isolated areas of tropical and subtropical Latin American countries. The parenteral administration of antivenom is the mainstay and the only validated treatment of snake bite envenoming. Here, we assess the efficacy of polyspecific anti-Bothrops serum (α-BS) produced in the Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS, Peru) and at the Fundação Ezequiel Dias (FUNED, Brazil), to neutralize the main toxic activities induced by five medically-relevant venoms of: Bothrops atrox, B. barnetti, and B. pictus from Peru, and the Brazilian B. jararaca and B. leucurus, all of them inhabiting different geographical locations. Protein electrophoretic patterns of these venoms showed significant differences in composition, number and intensity of bands. Another goal was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of lyophilized α-BS developed at INS to neutralize the detrimental effects of these venoms using in vivo and in vitro assays. The availability of lyophilized α-BS has relevant significance in its distribution to distant rural communities where the access to antivenom in health facilities is more difficult. Despite the fact that different antigen mixtures were used for immunization during antivenom production, our data showed high toxin-neutralizing activity of α-BS raised against Bothrops venoms. Moreover, the antivenom cross-reacted even against venoms not included in the immunization mixture. Furthermore, we have evaluated the efficacy of both α-BS to neutralize key toxic compounds belonging to the predominant protein families of Bothrops snakes. Most significantly, both α-BS cross-specifically neutralized the main toxicological activities e.g. lethality and hemorrhage induced by these venoms. Thus, our data indicate that both α-BS are equally effective to treat snake bite victims inflicted by Bothrops snakes particularly B. atrox, responsible for the largest numbers of human envenomations in the Amazon regions of some South American countries including Peru and Brazil.
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