Brazilian Viper Venom May Cure Covid
Brazilian viper venom may help in fight against covid according to a study by Brazilian researchers. They discovered a molecule in the venom of a type of snake that inhibited coronavirus reproduction in monkey cells. This a possible huge step toward a drug to combat the virus causing COVID-19.
A study published in the scientific journal Molecules this month showed that the molecule produced by the jararacussu pit viper inhibited the virus’s ability to multiply in monkey cells by a huge 75%.
"We were able to show this component of snake venom was able to inhibit a very important protein from the virus," said Rafael Guido, a University of Sao Paulo professor and an author of the study.
This molecule is a peptide, or chain of amino acids, that can connect to an enzyme of the coronavirus called PLPro, which is vital to reproduction of the virus, without hurting other cells.
The peptide is already known for its antibacterial qualities and can be synthesized in the laboratory according to Guido. The fact the it can be synthesized in the laboratory is good news because it makes the capture of the snakes unnecessary.
"We’re wary about people going out to hunt the jararacussu around Brazil, thinking they’re going to save the world … That’s not it!" said Giuseppe Puorto, a herpetologist running the Butantan Institute’s biological collection in Sao Paulo. "It’s not the venom itself that will cure the coronavirus."
Researchers will next evaluate the efficiency of different doses of the molecule and whether it is able to prevent the virus from entering cells in the first place, according to a statement from the State University of Sao Paulo (Unesp), which was also involved in the research.
They hope to test the substance in human cells but gave no timeline.
The jararacussu is one of the largest snakes in Brazil, measuring up to 6 feet (2 meters) long. It lives in the coastal Atlantic Forest and is also found in Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina.
Source : Reuters