Adult white leghorn hens hyperimmunised with Brazilian snake venoms of the genus Bothrops and/or Crotalus produced antibodies capable of recognising, combining with and neutralising the toxic and lethal components of the venoms. The antibodies were first detected by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay two weeks after starting the immunisation schedule, reached the highest titres by the third week and remained high for at least 24 weeks. These antibodies are transferred to the egg yolk from which they were isolated as enriched IgY preparations by a combination of methods using positive and negative precipitation with sodium sulphate and/or caprylic acid. The yolk-derived IgY preparations contained antibodies which blocked the phospholipase A2-dependent haemolytic activity of both venoms and the haemorrhagic activity of Bothrops venom, and neutralised the toxic lethal activities of the venoms with good efficacy. The median effective dose (ED50) of the IgY anti-Bothrops venom was 592.5 μl/2LD50 and, 1.0 ml neutralised 0.0675 mg of venom. The ED50 of the IgY anti-Crotalus venom was 457.5 μl/3LD50 and 1.0 ml neutralised 0.075 mg of venom.
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