Brazilian viper venom may become tool in fight against COVID-19, study shows

Jararacussu, a Brazilian snake; Its venom could become a cure for the virus causing COVID-19

By Reuters

It has now been revealed that a molecule in the venom of a snake inhibited coronavirus reproduction in monkey cells.

According to Brazilian researchers, this could be a possible first step towards a drug that could cure virus causing coronavirus.

A study published in the scientific journal Molecules this month found that the molecule produced by the Brazilian Jararacussu pit viper inhibited the virus’s ability to multiply in monkey cells by 75 percent.

“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.

The 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.

“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.”

Scientists are hoping to test the substance in human cells but gave no timeline.

Next step by researchers will now be to 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.

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.

South Africa rolls o
KEPSA, MoH seal deal
Rate This Article: