University of Arizona researchers find link between COVID deaths and snake venom

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TUCSON, AZ — Snakes are starting to play a big role in COVID-19 research. Scientists from the University of Arizona have discovered an enzyme, similar to one found in rattlesnake venom, that could be driving COVID-19 deaths.

“We found evidence that there was an enzyme, a snake-like enzyme, in the blood of people who were in extraordinarily high levels,” says Dr. Floyd Chilton, the senior author of the study with the University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Scientists have worked on this study for the past year and a half. It was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The snake-like enzyme is found in healthy people at low levels to prevent bacterial infections. In severe cases of COVID-19, it’s doing the opposite.

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