Snail venom could be the cure for malaria | Digital Trends Spanish
A study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine clinically showed that venom from a species of sea snail could be used as a solution to diseases such as malaria, and potentially, AIDS and COVID-19.
The investigation, published in the Journal of Proteomicsexplains how the venom of the sea snail conus nux showed, in tests in vitro, ability to disrupt the mechanism by which malaria-causing parasites infect tissues. “They do so by targeting various surface proteins present in cells,” explains Dr. in biochemical sciences from the National Institute of Standards and Technology Frank Marí, one of the authors of the study.
Scientists explain that the snail conus nux produces a poison called conotoxin. This substance prevents parasites from adhering to tissues, forming a kind of barrier that immunizes the body against contagion. In their observations, they noted that conotoxins disrupted protein-protein and protein-polysaccharide interactions, which directly contribute to the pathology of malaria known as plasmodium flaciparum.
They add that the possible therapies developed with this toxin are various. “Molecular stability, small size, solubility, intravenous administration, and lack of immunogenic response make conotoxins excellent candidates for blocking therapy,” added Professor of Biomedical Sciences Andrew V. Oleinikov, another of the authors. of the study.
The finding also constitutes a starting point for the development of therapies against other diseases such as COVID-19, which replicates in the body through the contagion of a specific protein in human cells.
Experts are confident that their findings will allow the creation of new tools to contain malaria, a disease of which about 500 million cases are reported each year and which kills about 400,000 thousand people a year.