Volume s1-31, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The therapeutic action of 11 Brazilian antivenins (2 polyvalent, 1 bivalent, 8 monovalent) against the venoms of 10 Brazilian snake species was assayed in 2989 subcutaneous mouse tests, fixed antivenin doses being applied immediately after the injection of varying venom doses at the same site.

The neutralizing effect was measured planimetrically by the area between the mortality curves obtained by venom alone and by venom + antivenin and expressed in milligrams and mean lethal doses.

The more toxic venoms were better neutralized than the weaker ones, whereas the antivenins obtained by immunizations with the weaker venoms were more potent than the sera derived from the stronger venoms.

A tentative heuristic theory is advanced, that the toxic principle in pharmacodynamically similar venoms is identical but not antigenic, and that the antigenic part of venoms is non-toxic.

The titer of the antivenins is sufficient to cure average snake bites in this country, except those caused by the rattlesnake, but is often too low for severe cases. The local actions of the venoms are not inhibited by the antivenins.

Antivenin production in Brazil should be limited to two types: polyvalent against the species of , and generically monovalent against the coral snakes.


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