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Novel snakebite therapeutics must be tested in appropriate rescue models to robustly assess their preclinical efficacy

Knudsen, C., Casewell, N., Lomonte, B., Gutiérrez, J. M., Vaiyapuri, S. ORCID: and Laustsen, A. (2020) Novel snakebite therapeutics must be tested in appropriate rescue models to robustly assess their preclinical efficacy. Toxins, 12 (9). 528. ISSN 2072-6651

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/toxins12090528


In the field of antivenom research, development, and manufacture, it is often advised to follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Guidelines for the production, control and regulation of snake antivenom immunoglobulins [1], which recommend the use of preincubation assays to assess the efficacy of snakebite therapeutics. In these assays, venom and antivenom are mixed and incubated prior to in vivo administration to rodents, which allows for standardizable comparison of antivenoms with similar characteristics. However, these assays are not necessarily sufficient for therapeutics with significantly different pharmacological properties than antibody-based antivenoms, such as small molecule inhibitors, nanoparticles, and other modalities. To ensure that the in vivo therapeutic utility of completely novel toxin-neutralizing molecules with no history of use in envenoming therapy and variable pharmacokinetics is properly evaluated, such molecules must also be tested in preclinical rescue assays, where rodents are first challenged with appropriate doses of venoms or toxins, followed by administration of neutralizing modalities after an appropriate time delay to better mimic the real-life scenarios faced by human snakebite victims. Such an approach takes into consideration the venom (or toxin) toxicokinetics and the drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. If new modalities are not subjected to evaluation in such rescue assays, but only assessed in preincubation assays, the publication of neutralization data may unintentionally misrepresent the actual therapeutic efficacy and suitability of the modality being tested, and thus potentially misguide strategic decision making in the research and development of novel therapies for snakebite envenoming.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Division of Pharmacology
ID Code:92361


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