Mucus From Frog Species From Southern India Could Kill Several Strains Of Flu Viruses, Research Shows

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Apr 20, 2017 08:47 PM EDT

New study showed flu-killing abilities of peptide from Indian frogs. (Photo : Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)

A team of researchers found that a colorful tennis-ball-sized frog species (Hydrophylax bahuvistara) from southern India could kill several strains of human flu viruses. Mucus of this tailless amphibian is filled with peptides that have the capacity to destroy bacteria and viruses.

The peptide, which is a compound, tiny structure, cured mice with deadly doses of human flu according to the study published in the journal Immunity. According to NBC News, the researchers are planning to formulate antiviral drugs out of it to treat people infected by a flu virus.

"This peptide kills the viruses. It kind of blows them up," Joshy Jacob of Emory University, who led the study, told the news outlet. It appears to be harmless on healthy tissues. "There's no collateral damage," he added.

The peptide may attach on a protein similar to numerous influenza strains. In the study, it counteracts with 1934 up to this generation's strains of flu virus. The researchers then named the newly discovered peptide "urumin," which is after an Indian sword that is flexible.

According to Phys.Org, the peptide is impossible in becoming a treatment against a flu virus. However, the latest research is the first to discover its flu-killing power. Jacob and his colleagues found that among 32 frog peptides, four of them have the capacity to destroy influenza strains.

Unfortunately, three out of the four peptides were proven harmful when exposed to human red blood cells. But the fourth urumin is likely harmless and is, in fact, deadly to broad varieties of flu viruses.

An electron microscope was used in viewing a completely damaged flu virus when exposed to the frog’s peptide. This compound attached to the viral protein called hemagglutinin. "What this peptide does is it binds to the hemagglutinin and destabilizes the virus. And then it kills the virus," Jacob explained.

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