Antivenom is currently the only treatment for snake envenomation, antivenom tends to be species specific, is not available in many places, and is not effective for local tissue damage (necrosis) done by enzymes, nor is it effective at reversing some enzymatic neurotoxins (phospolipases A2s) that act presynaptically. PLA2s are enzymes found in virtually all snake venoms. PLA2 are molecules that are common in many organisms and have been slightly modified by snakes for use in venom. PLA2s have been implicated as playing a role in multiple diseases including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, acute pancreatitis, and septic shock. There are also PLA2 inhibitor molecules (PLIs) in the blood serum of many animals including snakes. Maung-Maung Thwin of the National University of Singapore and colleagues have reviewed the information on PLIs. and purified a PLI from the serum of the Reticulated Python (Brogersmannus reticulatus) and produced a synthetic molecule which is the same as the naturally occurring one. The PLI from the python neutralizes a variety of snake venom and prevents swelling and contains a peptide that may be useful in combating inflammation as well as the damage done to local tissues by snake venom.
Citation: Thwin, M. M., R. P. Samy, S. D. Satyanarayanajois, and P. Gopalakrishnakome. 2010. Venom neutralization by purified bioactive molecules: synthetic peptide derivatives of the endogenous PLA2 inhibitory protein PIP (a min-review). Toxicon doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2009.12.023