In an unlikely turn of events, it would appear that pit viper venom may hold a clue to combat COVID-19. A recent study used the the jararacussu viper’s venom mixed with the virus. Results were promising, and scientists may synthesize it after additional testing.
The study, published by the scientific journal Molecules, found that the molecule jararacussu pit vipers produced inhibited the virus’ ability to multiply. It was tested using monkey cells, resulting in about 75% of the coronavirus virus cells failing to multiply when the particular peptide is present.
Rafael Guido, a University of Sao Paulo professor and an author of the study, said of the report: “We were able to show this component of snake venom was able to inhibit a very important protein from the virus.”
A peptide is a chain of amino acids that can connect to an enzyme. The enzyme that this particular peptide is connecting to of the coronavirus is called the PLPro, which is how the virus reproduces so quickly. If they can get this figured out, it could help those who are hospitalized from the virus fight it off sooner.
Experts are warning people not to go out and hunt the snake. The jararacussu pit viper is one of the largest vipers in Brazil. It averages about six feet. Scientists caution the venom itself will NOT save people, but the synthesization of the material found in it.
So far, no timeline for human trials is available, but hopefully soon.
In the meantime, you can help combat the spread of Covid-19 and it’s variants by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, and following all guidelines from federal and local authories.