Scientists have learned how to suppress coronavirus using an enzyme that is part of the snake venom.
Russian scientists led by Yuri Utkin, Head of the Laboratory of the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, noticed that the envelope of the new type of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) contains fatty molecules that are structurally similar to those parts of the cell membrane that attack phospholipase A2 (PLA2 ) – one of the key enzymes in the venom of vipers and other snakes.
After that, biologists tracked how phospolyases would interact with particles of the coronavirus. It turned out that enzymes from the venom of Nikolsky’s vipers suppressed the virus reproduction best.
These snakes live in southwestern Russia, Ukraine, and Romania. Their enzymes not only suppressed the spread of the virus but also dissolved viral particles.
We have shown that phospholipase A2 (PLA2) extracted from the venom of various snake species can protect, to varying degrees, cells (Vero E6) from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which are widely used in experiments with viruses.
Experts believe that snake venom can be used to create drugs that attack the virus.
In particular, scientists are now investigating whether the compounds found in black tea and wormwood extracts can inhibit the multiplication of SARS-CoV-2.