Brazilian scientists identified a substance in the venom of an Argentine snake capable of preventing the reproduction of Covid

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Researchers from the Paulista State University (Unesp) announced that they identified a substance in the venom of the snakes of the species yaracusú, present in Brazil and in northeastern Argentina, capable of preventing the reproduction of the virus that transmits Covid-19 in the body.

The molecule, identified by Brazilian researchers, inhibited by 75% the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to multiply in a culture of monkey cells in the laboratory, reported the prestigious São Paulo study house.

According Efe, the preliminary results of the investigation were Posted on August 12 in the digital edition of the international scientific journal Molecules.

These results “allow us to think about the possibility of developing medicines to treat the coronavirus,” he said. Eduardo Maffud, professor at the Unesp Institute of Chemistry and coordinator of the study.

The specialist stated that the Unesp researchers had already identified molecules of the venom of the yaracusú with antibacterial properties and explained that for this reason they decided to test some of those molecules to see if they had an action on SARS-CoV-2.

And he added: “Happily we got an interesting result with one of the substances. We identify a that it is not toxic to cells and that it inhibits the reproduction of the virus”.

The characteristics of the snake

The yaracusú (Bothrops jararacussu) is a species of venomous snake of the genus Bothrops that has its habitat in jungle regions of the west, southeast and south of Brazil, as well as in Bolivia, Paraguay and the northeast of Argentina.

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It is considered one of the most poisonous snakes in South America.

In Argentina it is only found in the jungles of the province of Misiones and it is considered a threatened species. They can measure up to two meters in length and can inject large amounts of venom in a single bite

Poisoning of people caused by the bite of this variety is the most common in Brazil from among the different snakes.

Maffud said that a possible medicine developed from the identified substance could slow down the reproduction of the virus in the body and give it time to create the antibodies necessary to resist the disease.

Researchers now seek to identify the correct possible dose of the molecule for the development of a substance with action on the coronavirus to then initiate tests not only in the laboratory but also with animals to determine its effectiveness.

“If the results are positive, we can think about developing a treatment,” said the scientist.

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