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Researchers at the Chemistry Institute of the State University of São Paulo (Unesp) of Araraquara revealed that the venom of the Brazilian snake Jararacuçu contains proteins capable of inhibiting the capacity of the coronavirus. Scientists identified that the protein inhibited by 75% the ability of the virus to replicate in monkey cells. The study was published in the scientific journal Molecules, on August 12th.

The molecule isolated from the snake is a peptide, a piece of protein, with antibacterial and antiviral action. Professor at the Chemistry Institute, Eduardo Maffud, one of those responsible for the study, says that the research group had already identified toxins in snake venom with antibacterial activity. The information is from O GLOBO.

“With the advancement of Covid-19, we positioned several of our peptides to see if they had activity against SARS-CoV-2. Fortunately, we got this interesting result”, said the researcher.

The scientist informs that a possible remedy with the discovered compound, by slowing down the replication of the Covid-19 virus, would give the body more time to act and create the antibodies needed to resist the disease.

But Eduardo points out that the research is still ongoing, and that additional studies would be needed. “But we saw that this peptide prevents the replication or multiplication of viral particles”, adds Maffud.

The researchers are also going to assess the efficiency of different dosages of the molecule, and whether it can exert protective functions in the cell, which could even prevent the invasion of the virus into the body.

According to Maffud, the studies will continue with the identification of other targets on which this peptide can act and in improving the activity of this molecule, so that in vivo tests can be carried out in guinea pigs, such as mice: “If the result is positive, we will develop a treatment,” he argues.

In addition to scientists from Unesp, the work involved researchers from the University of São Paulo (USP), the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) and the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp).

This type of snake can reach up to two meters in length and its dorsal color varies from gray, pink, yellow, brown or black, with dark brown triangular spots. In addition to Brazil, the snake can be found in Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.

This reptile is much feared for the amount of venom it is capable of injecting, and the person who suffers a bite may experience bleeding, swelling and tissue destruction in the bite region.

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