Brazilian viper venom may become tool in fight against COVID

Brazilian researchers have found that a molecule in the venom of a type of snake inhibited coronavirus reproduction in monkey cells, a possible first step toward a drug to combat the virus causing COVID-19.

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

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.

Already known for its antibacterial qualities, the peptide can be synthesized in the laboratory, Guido said in an interview, making the capture or raising 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.

Reporting by Leonardo Benassatto; Additional reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Editing by Bill Berkrot

  • Tropical Storm Celia continues to intensify: Heavy rains in Jalisco and Nayarit Tropical Storm Celia continues to intensify off the Mexican Pacific coast and is likely to become a Category 1 hurricane between Friday and Saturday. According to information from the National Meteorological Service, the cyclone is currently located 395 km south-southwest of Manzanillo, Colima, and 430 km south of Playa Pérula, in Jalisco. Maximum sustained winds…
  • Two new suspected cases of monkeypox identified in Puerto Vallarta As part of the results of the active epidemiological surveillance actions implemented by the Jalisco Health Secretariat (SSJ) in all the state’s medical units, three new suspected cases of monkeypox were identified. The patients are currently in home isolation for 21 days and will be given epidemiological follow-up. Tests were taken and sent to the…
  • COVID-19 cases in Mexico double over the past week The Ministry of Health (Ssa) updated the most recent figures for COVID-19 in Mexico. Through the General Directorate of Epidemiology, it shared the Daily Technical Report of COVID-19 corresponding to Saturday, June 25. Until the information cutoff at 5:00 p.m., 5,956,732 cases and 325,576 total deaths were confirmed since the health contingency began in the…
  • United States includes the Mascota-Vallarta highway on its alert list After the United States government included 30 of the 32 states of Mexico in its travel alert, the American Embassy also calls not to drive on certain highways of the country, among which is State 544, which leads from the municipality of Mascota to Puerto Vallarta. In its most recent travel alert, published on June…
  • Mexico fails air safety assessment; maintains Category 2 After more than a year since the United States downgraded air safety in Mexico to Category 2, the Secretariat of Infrastructure, Communications, and Transportation ( SICT ) reported this Thursday that it will continue as category 2 for at least a few more months. Through a statement, the agency noted that from June 13 to…

Puerto Vallarta News

Compare Listings

Title Price Status Type Area Purpose Bedrooms Bathrooms