Scientists Discover Chilling Similarity Between COVID-19 Infection and Rattlesnake Bite
“According to their study published on 24 August in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, getting a severe case of the novel coronavirus is like getting bitten by a rattlesnake.”
by Max Gorbachev
Using machine learning algorithms, researchers analysed blood samples from hundreds of individuals. They say the results of their study could be used to better treat coronavirus patients as well as potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives across the globe.
An international group of scientists claims to have discovered one of the leading causes of death from SARS-CoV-2. According to their study published on 24 August in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, getting a severe case of the novel coronavirus is like getting bitten by a rattlesnake. An enzyme that skyrockets after a person falls ill with a serious case of COVID-19 is from the same family as the enzyme in rattlesnake venom.
Ironically, the human body contains the secreted A2 phospholipase group (sPLA2-IIA) in low concentrations, with the enzyme protecting the organism from microbes and fighting off infections.
But in high quantities, sPLA2-IIA is perilous to humans as it can “shred” vital organs, said Floyd “Ski” Chilton, a professor at the University of Arizona and lead author of the study.
“In other words, this enzyme is trying to kill the virus, but at a certain point it is released in such high amounts that things head in a really bad direction. It is a disease resistance mechanism until it has the capacity to turn on the host human”, Chilton said.
Professor Chilton and his colleagues discovered this enzyme in blood samples from patients who had severe cases of COVID-19. The researchers say that medicines used for treating snake bites could be repurposed for battling the coronavirus.
“Because inhibitors of sPLA2-IIA already exist, our study supports the use of these inhibitors in patients with elevated levels of sPLA2-IIA to reduce, or even prevent, COVID-19 mortality”, said D. Maurizio Del Poeta of Stony Brook’s Renaissance School of Medicine, a co-author of the study.
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