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Nanobodies as an alternative therapy for passive immunization

Grant number: 20/14521-6
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: February 01, 2022 - January 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine
Principal researcher:Débora Botéquio Moretti
Grantee:Débora Botéquio Moretti
Home Institution: Instituto Butantan. Secretaria da Saúde (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Andres Wigdorovitz ; Celina Guadalupe Vega ; Juan Pablo Alfonso Malito ; Marcelo Larami Santoro ; Marina Bok ; Raul Machado Neto ; Viviana Parreño


Accidents with venomous animals are considered a public health problem in several countries, mainly tropical and subtropical. In Brazil, more than half of these accidents result from scorpion bites, which were responsible for 31% of deaths caused by this type of incident in 2018. Severe and moderate cases of scorpion envenomation are treated with specific serotherapy, which has been produced since the beginning of the twentieth century in horses, and whose requirement has increased both nationally and internationally. However, in the current context in which the health and welfare of animals are fundamental, the society expects less invasive and more efficient alternatives for the production of antivenoms and antitoxins. Nanobodies (Nbs or VHHs) have a great therapeutic potential and have been studied as a treatment for numerous diseases. In addition to having a more economical production, these fragments of single chain antibodies derived from camelids are small, stable, soluble in aqueous solutions and have high specificity and affinity to the target antigen. The inactivation of scorpionic toxins by specific Nbs becomes, therefore, a therapeutic option of special importance for the treatment of scorpions accidents. The present proposal will be carried out in partnership with the National Institute of Agricultural Technology, INTA / Argentina, and aims to assess the immunotherapeutic potential of specific Nbs for scorpion toxins. In addition to collaborating with a network of institutional strategies for quick responses to public health problems, this initiative inserts Instituto Butantan as producer of this type of biological products, contributing to the national excellence and sovereignty of Butantan as a immunobiological industry, and strengthening the partnership between Latin American institutions. (AU)

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