Development Africanized Honey Bee Antivenom
Small Business Information
2800 South Fish Hatchery Road, Madison, WI, 53711
Douglas C. Stafford
AbstractThe northward migration from Brazil of the Africanized honey bee (AHB), Apis mellifera scutellata, following their accidental release presents a new U. S. public health concern. Because of the AHB's extremely defensive colony behavior, persons may be attacked by swarms; this will result in hundreds to thousands of stings. In these instances, potentially lethal quantities of venom are delivered (similar to snakebite); there is not a commercial antivenom available to neutralize toxicity. It is projected that up to 6,000 individuals annually will receive serious stings in the U. S. following establishment of feral populations. We will develop an AHB antivenom using proprietary methods for the production of pharmaceutical-grade polyclonal antibodies from hyperimmune hen eggs. High-purity avian antivenoms have been shown to have superior venom-neutralizing capabilities when compared to conventional mammalian products and are expected to reduce inflammatory side effects. Hens will be immunized with whole bee venom followed by extraction of total hyperimmune yolk Ig and purification by affinity chromatography. The resulting antibodies will be characterized by in vitro immunochemical analyses and by venom neutralization in a mouse protection assay. Based on these feasibility studies, expanded formal development is anticipated to continue to fulfill pharmaceutical licensing requirements.
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