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Biogeographical venom variation in the indian spectacled cobra (Naja naja) underscores the pressing need for pan-india efficacious snakebite therapy

Senji Laxme, RR and Attarde, S and Khochare, S and Suranse, V and Martin, G and Casewell, NR and Whitaker, R and Sunagar, K (2021) Biogeographical venom variation in the indian spectacled cobra (Naja naja) underscores the pressing need for pan-india efficacious snakebite therapy. In: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 15 (2).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0009150


Background Snake venom composition is dictated by various ecological and environmental factors, and can exhibit dramatic variation across geographically disparate populations of the same spe-cies. This molecular diversity can undermine the efficacy of snakebite treatments, as anti-venoms produced against venom from one population may fail to neutralise others. India is the world’s snakebite hotspot, with 58,000 fatalities and 140,000 morbidities occurring annu-ally. Spectacled cobra (Naja naja) and Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) are known to cause the majority of these envenomations, in part due to their near country-wide distributions. However, the impact of differing ecologies and environment on their venom compositions has not been comprehensively studied. Methods Here, we used a multi-disciplinary approach consisting of venom proteomics, biochemical and pharmacological analyses, and in vivo research to comparatively analyse N. naja venoms across a broad region (>6000 km; seven populations) covering India’s six distinct biogeographical zones. Findings By generating the most comprehensive pan-Indian proteomic and toxicity profiles to date, we unveil considerable differences in the composition, pharmacological effects and poten-cies of geographically-distinct venoms from this species and, through the use of immunological assays and preclinical experiments, demonstrate alarming repercussions on antivenom therapy. We find that commercially-available antivenom fails to effectively neutralise envenomations by the pan-Indian populations of N. naja, including a complete lack of neu-tralisation against the desert Naja population. Conclusion Our findings highlight the significant influence of ecology and environment on snake venom composition and potency, and stress the pressing need to innovate pan-India effective anti-venoms to safeguard the lives, limbs and livelihoods of the country’s 200,000 annual snakebite victims.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Authors.
Keywords: amino acid oxidase; immunoglobulin G; phospholipase A; proteinase; snake venom; proteome; snake venom; venom antiserum, amino acid oxidase assay; animal experiment; antivenom therapy; Article; biochemical analysis; biochemistry; biodiversity; biogeographic region; biogeography; blood clotting; controlled study; cross reaction; DNase assay; drug analysis; drug efficacy; drug therapy; ED50; envenomation; enzyme assay; enzyme linked immunosorbent assay; hemolysis assay; immunoblotting; in vivo study; India; LD50; liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry; mouse; Naja naja; nonhuman; phospholipase A2 assay; polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; protein content; proteomics; reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography; snake venom protease assay; snakebite; toxicity assay; venom variation; animal; chemistry; ecosystem; geography; immunology; Naja naja, Animals; Antivenins; Ecosystem; Elapid Venoms; Geography; India; Naja naja; Proteome
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 08 May 2023 08:47
Last Modified: 08 May 2023 08:47
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/81460

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