I just heard zoos keep stocks of antivenom for all their venomous snakes. Reminded me of movies where you needed a sample of venom to make the stuff. How does anti-venom work and how is it made?

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I just heard zoos keep stocks of antivenom for all their venomous snakes. Reminded me of movies where you needed a sample of venom to make the stuff. How does anti-venom work and how is it made?

In: Chemistry

3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It is going to depend on the antivenom, but most are made by injecting livestock (usually horses or sheep) with the venom itself. This causes an immune system response in the animal, releasing antibodies into the blood.

The blood is then extracted and the plasma (containing the antibodies) is separated, concentrated and purified, creating a dose of antibodies which can be injected into a person if needed.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Actually they don’t keep it at the zoo. It needs to be fresh. At the zoo where my daughter handles rattlesnakes they have an emergency button that calls the hospital and all the emergency services and the person bitten is rushed to the hospital.

I definitely asked her the procedure. She confidently told me “ The emergency button calls EVERYONE”.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Few weeks ago there was a report about finding an antivenom that works for multiple snake families. Its not my field at all but it is a big deal.

https://www.scripps.edu/news-and-events/press-room/2024/20240221-jardine-antivenom.html