Slimy Frog Might Be a Flu Fighter

Researchers at Emory screened 32 peptides derived from the mucus of the frog, called Bahuvistara, and found one that was effective against all H1 viruses.

Some other drugs - such as some chemotherapy and anticlotting drugs - have also been developed from chemicals found in plants.

It is indicated that the peptide from the frog slime will directly kill influenza viruses.

"The virus needs this hemagglutinin to get inside our cells", says study co-author Joshy Jacob of Emory University in a press release. "There's no collateral damage", he said.

There, in the film of secretions that protects the frog's skin from deadly pathogens, scientists have identified a string of amino acids that completely destroys a wide swath of influenza A viruses while doing no harm to healthy human red blood cells.

Previous research has shown that frogs' skins secrete mucus that contains "host defense peptides", known to protect them from harmful bacteria. "They have it to fight some other bug that is detrimental to their survival", he said. They have been testing them one by one against bacteria, looking for new antibiotics. So if they had a vaccine that could target the stalk, they could potentially obliterate all influenza viruses-a universal vaccine.

The mucus comes from the Hydrophylax bahuvistara, a variety of frog native to southern India. "A majority of the peptides were antibacterial and some of them kill the things that make milk go bad".

Flu subtypes H1 and H3 are presently causing infections in North America, Europe and South Asia, the World Health Organization said.

"I don't think people thought that they work that way before", Chinchar said about the peptide. "There are 3,000 of these that are published".

Frogs have received a lot of attention, because it is easy to isolate peptides from the slimy layer of mucus on their skin.

"The next challenge is systemic delivery", Jacob added.

Scientists also tested the peptide in mice.

Rollins-Smith, who was not involved in the new study, has conducted separate research on whether certain antimicrobial peptides in frogs might hold clues to preventing HIV transmission. The team named the newly discovered peptide "urumin".

Exposure to the flu virus is often confused with the common cold, as many of their symptoms overlap. The other strains have differences in their hemagglutinin that keep urumin from attaching.

With 18 states still reporting widespread flu activity, the United States continues to experience an elevated but declining flu season in April. "These work really, really well".

According to scientists, frogs do not get sick with flu, i.e., they are not infected by influenza viruses. "And then it kills the virus". "We were unable to do it". Therefore it is important the researchers continue to do studies such as this, to look for ways that they can be treated. That is because certain enzymes in the body dissolve these drugs.

Vanessa Coleman