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Development of a chicken-derived antivenom against the taipan snake (Oxyuranus scutellatus) venom and comparison with an equine antivenom.

Posted by on in 2016
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Navarro D1Vargas M2Herrera M3Segura Á2Gómez A2Villalta M2Ramírez N4Williams D5Gutiérrez JM2León G6.. 2016. Toxicon. 120:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2016.06.018. Epub 2016 Jun 29.

1Departamento de Ciencias Forenses, Organismo de Investigación Judicial, San José, Costa Rica.
2Instituto Clodomiro Picado, Facultad de Microbiología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica.
3Instituto Clodomiro Picado, Facultad de Microbiología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica; Sección de Química Analítica, Escuela de Química, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica.
4Instituto de Investigaciones Farmacéuticas, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica.
5Charles Campbell Toxinology Centre, School of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Australian Venom Research Unit, Department of Pharmacology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.
6Instituto Clodomiro Picado, Facultad de Microbiología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica. Electronic address:



A chicken-derived antivenom (ChDAv) towards taipan snake (Oxyuranus scutellatus) venom was produced by purifying anti-taipan IgY from egg yolks of hens immunized with taipan venom. The productivity, antivenomic profile, neutralization ability, pharmacokinetic properties and immunogenicity of the ChDAv were compared with those of an antivenom produced in horses (EDAv). We found that 382 eggs are required to produce the mass of anti-taipan antibodies contained in one liter of equine hyperimmune plasma, and that 63 chickens would be needed to generate the amount of anti-taipan antibodies annually produced by one horse. It was estimated that, in Costa Rica, the production of anti-taipan antibodies could be 40% cheaper if chickens were used as immunoglobulin source, instead of horses. During antivenomic assessment, ChDAv showed lower ability to immunocapture the α subunit of taipoxin, the most important neurotoxin in the venom. ChDAv showed a lower ability to neutralize the coagulant and lethal activities of taipan venom. ChDAv was more immunogenic in rabbits than EDAv, probably due to the fact that chickens are phylogenetically more distant to rabbits than horses. This finding may explain why clearance from rabbit bloodstream was faster for chicken-IgY than for equine-IgG in a pharmacokinetic study. In conclusion, the production of anti-taipan antivenom was less effective when chicken egg yolks were used as source of immunoglobulins instead of horses.


Antibody response; Antivenom; Foreignness; Oxyuranus scutellatus; Pharmacokinetics; Snake venom

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