Researchers have found that a molecule in the venom of a type of snake inhibited coronavirus reproduction in monkey cells, said a Reuters report. The study conducted by Brazilian researchers has been published in the scientific journal 'Molecules'. It shows that the molecule produced by the 'jararacussu pit viper' slowed down the the virus' ability to multiply in momkey cells by 75%.
Rafael Guido, a professor at University of Sao Paulo and one of the authors of the study, said that the researchers were able to show that this component of snake venom was able to shield a very important protein from the virus.
The molecule is a peptide, or chain of amino acids, that can connect to an enzyme of the coronavirus called PLPro, which is vital to reproduction of the virus, without hurting other cells.
Already known for its antibacterial qualities, the peptide can be synthesized in the laboratory, Guido said in an interview.
A statement from the State University of Sao Paulo said that researchers are working at elevating the efficiency of different doses of the molecule and whether it is able to prevent the virus from entering the cells in the first place. They are yet to give a timeline to test the substance in human cells.
Measuring up to six feet, the jararacussu is one of the larget snakes in Brazil and it is found in coastal Atlantic Forest, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina.