Viper venom for the benefit of human health

Publicado em 23 novembro 2021

RIO DE JANEIRO.- The viper venom It not only represents a danger to humans but also contains substances that can be used to improve their health.

For example, Brazilian and Belgian scientists developed a molecule from one of the proteins in the venom of a South American snake that allows modulating blood clotting.

In this way it can be used in medicines to treat thrombosis or in healing dressings.

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The molecule was developed from a technique that allows modifying PEG-chollinein-1, a protein extracted from venom of the southern tropical rattlesnake.

It is a subspecies of the Crotalus durissus, poisonous snakes that live in central and western South America.

Scientific journal publishes the results of the study

The works were coordinated by the Brazilian Ernesto Lopes Pinheiro Junior, a researcher at the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), reported the Foundation for Research Support in the State of Sao Paulo (FAPESP), who financed the project.

The results are highlighted in the latest edition of the scientific journal Internationa l Journal of Biological Macromolecules.

The technology to modify the protein of medicinal interest allowed it to have a more stable behavior in the body and is more resistant to the immune system, according to FAPESP.

How did they modify the protein of the snake venom?

“The objective of the procedure was to keep PEG-chollinein-1 circulating in the body for longer, which can reduce the interval between administrations in case it can be converted into a medicine,” said Pinheiro Junior.

“What’s more, reduces degradation by components of the human body and improves its functional properties, “he added.

To modify the protein, the researcher polyethylene glycol (PEG) aggregate, a substance that helps reduce interaction with the immune system and prevents the formation of aggregates that decrease the activity of the molecule in the body.

“It is a technique widely used by the pharmaceutical industry. There are already 19 medicines that use this technique approved, although it is the first time that it has been used in an animal toxin, “said Eliane Candiani Arantes, a researcher at USP, who guided the project.

How does it act when the poisonous snake bites?

The protein extracted from snake venom is responsible for causing bleeding in whom the reptile bites.

Nevertheless, when administered in small doses it can prevent the formation of thrombi that cause strokes.

And when applied directly to the skin can clot blood in hard-to-heal wounds.

Brazilian researchers working with the venom of this snake already they developed technologies that allow the proteins of interest to be produced synthetically.

In this way, it is avoided to depend on the little poison that can be extracted from Crotalus durissus, it facilitates its manipulation in the laboratory and its manufacture on a scale, and it reduces its cost.

It can be used in medicines to treat thrombosis or in healing

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