Sea Snake Antivenin and Experimental Envenomation Therapy.
Technical rept. Jul 71-Sep 74
EDGEWOOD ARSENAL ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD
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Employing pure strain albino female mice, the authors tested the efficacy of commercial sea snake antivenin against the venoms of Laticauda laticaudata, L. semifasciata, and Pelamis platurus. The antivenin proved effective to a varying degree against all 3 venoms. In tests using 5 different lots of sea snake antivenin ranging in age from a few months to 8 years, all lots were found to strong antidotal capabilities against the 3 sea snake venoms. The oldest antivenin had lost, at most, perhaps 25 of its potency against P. platurus venom when compared to the newest antivenin, but had lost 40-45 of its potency against the remaining 2 venoms. In tests using Rhesus monkeys, it was found that sustained support of critically envenomated subjects using artificial respiration AR maintained the animal in all cases until spontaneous respiration reappeared--usually within 18 to 24 hours. This interval could be dramatically reduced to 5 or 6 hours by using antivenin together with AR. It was found that, while the neuromuscular blockade arising from sea snake venom was slowly reversible under AR, the reversal could not be hastened by use of anticurare type drugs. Evidently sea snake neurotoxin binds to the receptors more strongly than any synthetic or natural antagonists tired thus far. Sea snake venom produces no direct effects on the CNS as judged by EEG monitoring of conscious test animals. Abrupt and dramatic changes in EEG wave forms occur with sea snake envenomation only as a result of hypoxia arising from incipient respiratory embarrassment. Sea snake neurotoxin is a peripheral poison the site of action is the nerve-muscle endplate.