Typically, a snake bite is treated with polyclonal antibody preparations obtained from immunized animals. This method is suboptimal because the neutralizing agents are not tailored towards specific venom components and because of batch variability due to turnover of venom donor and antivenom donor animals. The project proposes to improve potency and reduce batch variability by developing highly specific and defined neutralizing peptides against relevant components present in the venom of four important venomous snake species of India, cobra (Naja naja), common krait (Bungarus caeruleus), Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii), and Sawscaled viper (Echis carinatus)
To that end snake venom will be fractionated and individual peptide components of the venom will be purified by various methods including size exclusion, ion exchange chromatography etc. Purified components will be immobilized and used as baits in protein interaction screens based on phage display methods. Subsequently, interacting peptides will be evaluated for venom-neutralizing properties, and promising leads will be optimized by iterative cycles of mutagenesis and valuation of venom neutralizing properties. Ultimately, optimized peptide sequences will be cloned, bacterially expressed, may then be tested in combination to neutralize the complete venom.