Development of low-cost snake antivenom for India Prof. Claire Komives, San Jose State University, CA, USA: 15th April, 2015
On April 15, 2015 we had a guest lecture by Professor Claire Komives, Biomedical, Chemical & Materials Engineering, San Jose State University, San Jose, California USA on "Low-Cost Production Technologies for Anti-Venom Peptides"
Professor Claire Komives says “a simple peptide of mere 11 amino acid residues from N-terminal of opossum protein could save victims of snake bites in India”. Around 3.9% people are victims of snake bite in India and available antidotes are costly and inaccessible for many people. She got information about this peptide from research published in early 1990s. This peptide protects mice against the hemorrhagic effect of venom from Russell’s viper and also neutralizes rattlesnake venom. Moreover, it showed no negative effects on mice. Although the peptide’s precise mechanism of action against the venom is still unclear but Insilco studies suggest that protein-protein interaction is playing a major role. Currently, she is using engineered Escherichia coli to synthesize peptides containing multiple repeats of first 11 amino acid residues of full opossum protein followed by its cleavage using protease to release desired peptide. She is currently optimizing the peptide purification process in collaboration with IIT, Delhi. Prof. Claire Komives concluded by stressing if she is successful, this peptide could offer an effective low-cost treatment for snake bites in India.