The light at the end of the tunnel? Brazilian viper venom can be used to cure COVID-19

Researchers working to create a cure for the coronavirus have found that a molecule in the venom of the largest snake in Brazil slows down the reproduction of COVID-19 in monkey cells.

The first results of the scientists’ research are reported by the British television news channel Sky News

The large poisonous viper Jararakussu (grows up to two meters) lives in the coastal Atlantic forests. This species is also found in Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina. Scientists at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo have found that the molecule contained in the venom of this snake significantly slows down the reproduction of the coronavirus. They are conducting in-depth research to confirm the possibility of using poison as a tool in the fight against coronavirus.

Perhaps this discovery will be the first step towards creating an effective drug to combat the virus that causes COVID-19. Researchers are working on a sample in the laboratory of the Institute of Physics of the University of São Paulo. They claim to have found a 75% reduction in coronavirus production after the cells come into contact with jararacussu venom. The researchers will then evaluate the effectiveness of various doses of the molecule to prevent the virus from entering cells, the State University of São Paulo said in a statement.

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that cause respiratory infections, from the common cold to more serious illnesses. COVID-19 is caused by a new form of the virus, SARS-CoV-2. One of the scientists involved in the research, Raphael Guido, says:

“We were able to show that this component of snake venom is able to suppress a very important protein in the virus. This is the first step on a long journey … The process is very long. One of the characteristics of the venom demonstrated in this study is that it has developmental potential. It’s a long way, but we have taken the first steps. “

Mr. Guido also added about the fear of scientists about the possible actions of people who learned about the discovery:

“People can start hunting jararakussa all over Brazil, thinking that it will save the world or themselves, their family. This is not the case. Is this an important discovery? No doubt it is, but animal chase is not how it will be solved. The discovered component is just a part of the poison, it is not the poison itself, which is capable of curing the coronavirus right now. “

Scientists hope to test this substance on human cells, but so far, even an approximate timing has not been reported.

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