Engineering and design considerations for next-generation snakebite antivenoms

Toxicon. 2019 Sep;167:67-75. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2019.06.005. Epub 2019 Jun 4.


Snakebite envenoming is a devastating Neglected Tropical Disease, the treatment of which has seen relatively little innovation since the invention of antivenom serotherapy in 1894. Current antivenoms have been and continue to be invaluable in saving thousands of lives. However, these medicines are associated with a number of drawbacks pertaining to availability, safety, and efficacy. Fortunately, with the advent of novel methodologies, such as antibody discovery technologies, high-throughput drug discovery approaches, and improved methods for protein engineering, we are starting to see scientific advances in the field. This review presents relevant engineering and design considerations for exploiting these methodologies to develop next-generation antivenoms with improved safety, efficacy, and affordability. The pros and cons of different treatment modalities are discussed with regards to immunogenicity, the suitability of preclinical efficacy assays, availability of discovery methods, economic viability of production schemes, and possible regulatory approval paths.

Keywords: Antivenom development; Antivenom manufacture; Monoclonal antibodies; Next-generation antivenoms; Recombinant antivenoms; Small molecule toxin inhibitors; Snakebite envenoming; Toxin-neutralization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antivenins / adverse effects
  • Antivenins / chemistry*
  • Antivenins / therapeutic use
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug and Narcotic Control
  • Humans
  • Snake Bites / drug therapy*
  • Snake Venoms / immunology


  • Antivenins
  • Snake Venoms