Scientists Discover Snake Venom That Inhibits Coronavirus

Researchers from Araraquara studied proteins from the venom of the Jararacuçu snake. (Photo: Miguel Nema)

Scientists at the Chemistry Institute (IQ) of Unesp Araraquara may have found in the venom of the Brazilian snake Jararacuçu, an answer against the new coronavirus. The snake’s venom, a peptide – a piece of protein – is capable of containing the reproduction of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The discovery came after tests carried out in the laboratory, in which the researchers observed that the molecule extracted from the reptile’s venom inhibited by 75% the ability of the virus to multiply in monkey cells. The preliminary study presents a promising path in the search for drugs to treat patients contaminated by covid-19.

The great challenge for the creation of a new drug is to ensure that it is efficient against a certain disease and, at the same time, it does not generate adverse reactions for those taking it.

“We found a peptide that is not toxic to cells, but that inhibits virus replication. With that, if the compound becomes a drug in the future, the organism would gain time to act and create the necessary antibodies, since the virus would be with its infection speed compromised and would not advance in the organism”, explains Eduardo Maffud Cilli, professor at the IQ and one of the authors of the work.