Antibody mixtures produced by an animal after exposure to small doses of an injected venom that may be harmful to man. As the doses are small, the injection is not lethal and antibodies are formed. This resultant antibodymixture is then collected from the animal’s blood, purified, concentrated, and thus becomes an antivenom. It can then be injected into humans to counteract symptoms (or death) produced by the venom of the animal potentially lethal to humans. An antivenom is specific for the venom against which it is prepared, and does not neutralise other antivenoms. A rare exception to this is Tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) antivenom which can be used to effectivelycounteract the venom of the sea snakes if specific sea snake antivenom is not available.
Article Categories:Dictionary of Tropical Medicine