Abstract: The toxin composition of snake venoms and, thus, their functional activity, can vary between and within species. Intraspecific venom variation across a species’ geographic range is a major concern for antivenom treatment of envenomations, particularly for countries like French Guiana that lack a locally produced antivenom. Bothrops asper and Bothrops atrox are the most medically significant species of snakes in Latin America, both producing a variety of clinical manifestations, including systemic bleeding. These pathophysiological actions are due to the activation by the venom of the blood clotting factors Factor X and prothrombin, thereby causing severe consumptive coagulopathy. Both species are extremely wide-ranging, and previous studies have shown their venoms to exhibit regional venom variation. In this study, we investigate the differential coagulotoxic effects on human plasma of six venoms (four B. asper and two B. atrox samples) from different geographic locations, spanning from Mexico to Peru. We assessed how the venom variation of these venom samples affects neutralisation by five regionally available antivenoms: Antivipmyn, Antivipmyn-Tri, PoliVal-ICP, Bothrofav, and Soro Antibotropico (SAB). The results revealed both inter- and intraspecific variations in the clotting activity of the venoms. These variations in turn resulted in significant variation in antivenom efficacy against the coagulotoxic effects of these venoms. Due to variations in the venoms used in the antivenom production process, antivenoms differed in their species-specific or geographical neutralisation capacity. Some antivenoms (PoliVal-ICP, Bothrofav, and SAB) showed species-specific patterns of neutralisation, while another antivenom (Antivipmyn) showed geographic-specific patterns of neutralisation. This study adds to current knowledge of Bothrops venoms and also illustrates the importance of considering evolutionary biology when developing antivenoms. Therefore, these results have tangible, real-world implications by aiding evidence-based design of antivenoms for treatment of the envenomed patient. We stress that these in vitro studies must be backed by future in vivo studies and clinical trials before therapeutic guidelines are issued regarding specific antivenom use in a clinical setting.
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