Research Highlight

Egg yolk anti-venom

doi:10.1038/nindia.2010.7 Published online 30 January 2010

Antisera from horses is a proven treatment against snake venom. However, alternative sources for anti-venom production has led researchers to egg yolk from chickens.

Polyclonal antibodies (IgY) extracted from egg yolk after inoculation of chickens with cobra venom has revealed that IgY is functionally equivalent to IgG of equines in both yield and potency of venom neutralization.

Egg laying hens respond immunologically to a wide range of antigenic components present in cobra venom. The advantage of chicken IgY over mammalian antibodies is that it does not activate the mammalian complement system and does not infer with factors such as rheumatoid factors and mammalian immunoglobulins, the researchers say. Chicken IgY also does not bind to human or bacterial Fc receptors.

The authors of this study are from: Department of Antitoxin, King Institute of Preventive Medicine, Chennai, India; IVD, World Health Organisation, South East Asia Region, New Delhi, India and Mediclone Research Centre, Chennai, India.


  1. Rajendra Prabhu, R. et al. Extraction and characterization of polyclonal egg yolk antibodies (IgY) in chicken against cobra (Naja naja) venom. Curr. Sci. 98, 237-239 (2010)