A chemical found in the venom of the Jaracusu pit viper may soon be used to combat the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study published in the scientific journal Molecules. The report suggested that a chemical produced by the Jaracusu pit viper reduced the ability of the virus to replicate in monkey cells by up to 75%.
“We were able to show that this component of snake venom was able to block a very essential protein from the virus,” said Rafael Guido, a professor at the University of So Paulo and one of the study’s authors. One of the largest snakes in the world, Brazil, Jararacusu, is up to 6 feet (2 m) long. It lives in the coastal Atlantic Forest and is also found in Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.
A peptide is a chemical produced by the Jaraksu pit viper. According to Reuters, it is a chain of amino acids that link to the coronavirus’s PLPro enzyme, which is essential for the virus to replication without harming other cells.
Guido said in an interview that the peptide is recognized for its antibacterial properties and can be produced in the laboratory. “We are concerned about individuals going out to hunt jararacusu in Brazil, believing they will save the world… Not so! Veterinarian Giuseppe Puerto said. “Coronavirus will not be cured by toxin alone.”
According to a statement from the State University of So Paulo (UNESP), the report further said that researchers are evaluating the efficiency of different doses of the molecule and whether it is able to prevent the virus from entering cells. Also involved in research. They hope to test the substance in human cells but gave no timeline.