South African Snake Venoms and Antivenoms

by Poul Agerholm Christensen, M.B., Dip. Bact., 1st edition, 129 pages, ill. Johannesburg, South Africa, The South African Institute for Medical Research, 1955:

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This book is a useful source of information on certain of the zoological characteristics of the South African venomous snakes; and the nature, yield, stability, known pharmacological effects and toxicity of the venoms in experimental animals. There is an extensive, yet condensed, compilation of previously published and new data. The blood clotting mechanism, proteolytic action and enzyme content of the venoms described, and the physical and chemical properties of the poisons of certain South African species of Naja and the true vipers are given. Methods for sterilization, and detoxification of the venoms are described, and the literature is reviewed on various suggested medical uses of snake poisons.

The history of the development of an antivenin against South African venomous snakes is outlined, and the methods used for production, purification and concentration of the serum, animal assays of the neutralizing potency and determination of the cross-neutralizing action in vitro and in vivo are described in detail.