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Biotechnology (N Y). 1990 Oct;8(10):934-8.

Rattlesnake and scorpion antivenoms from the egg yolks of immunized hens.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706.


Antivenoms used to treat poisonous bites and stings are usually derived from horse sera. Consequently, they contain horse immunoglobulins, which frequently cause complement mediated side effects, and other proteins that can cause serum sickness and, occasionally, anaphylactic shock. Here we describe a new, avian source of antivenoms that precludes these complications, and an efficient and gentle means for preparing antivenoms composed solely of venom-specific antibodies. We demonstrate that antivenoms purified from the egg yolks of laying hens immunized with Crotalus atrox rattlesnake venom and Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus scorpion venom neutralize the lethal effects of these venoms in vivo. Antivenoms purified from chicken eggs may be pharmaceutically safer and more economical to produce than current horse antivenoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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