Children and snakebite: snake venom effects on adult and paediatric plasma

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Snakebite is a globally neglected tropical disease, with coagulation disturbances being the primary pathology of many deadly snake venoms. Age-related differences in human plasma have been abundantly reported, yet the effect that these differences pose regarding snakebite is largely unknown. We tested for differences in coagulotoxic effects (via clotting time) of multiple snake venoms upon healthy human adult (18+) and paediatric (median 3.3 years old) plasma in vivo and compared these effects to the time it takes the plasmas to clot without the addition of venom (the spontaneous clotting time). We tested venoms from 15 medically significant snake species (from 13 genera) from around the world with various mechanisms of coagulotoxic actions, across the three broad categories of procoagulant, pseudo-procoagulant, and anticoagulant, to identify any differences between the two plasmas in their relative pathophysiological vulnerability to snakebite. One procoagulant venom (Daboia russelii, Russell’s Viper) produced significantly greater potency on paediatric plasma compared with adult plasma. In contrast, the two anticoagulant venoms (Pseudechis australis, Mulga Snake; and Bitis cornuta, Many-horned Adder) were significantly more potent on adult plasma. All other procoagulant venoms and all pseudo-procoagulant venoms displayed similar potency across both plasmas. Our preliminary results may inform future studies on the effect of snake venoms upon plasmas from different age demographics and hope to reduce the burden of snakebite upon society.
Zdenek CN., Fabri C, Bourke LA., Tanaka-Azevedo AM, Monagle P, Fry BG.. Children and snakebite: snake venom effects on adult and paediatric plasma. Toxins. 2023 Feb; 15(2):158. doi:10.3390/toxins15020158.
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