Researchers use frog mucus to combat flu

A recent study suggests mucus from the skin of certain frogs may prove effective in fighting the flu, according to CNN.

For the study, researchers collected skin secretions from 15 frogs of the Hydrophylax bahuvistara species located in southern India. They tested how peptides found in the mucus interacted with the influenza virus under a microscope and in infected mice. Researchers discovered four peptides that showed activity against the virus.

"Out of the four, we found one of them, urumin, was non-toxic to human cells," said Joshy Jacob, PhD, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Atlanta-based Emory University School of Medicine and lead author of the study. Dr. Jacob said researchers tested the peptide against a number of flu viruses from the 1930s to present day and discovered urumin "killed all of the H1 [virus types]," according to the report.  

Dr. Jacob said he and his team are unsure why the single peptide only targets H1 viruses, but speculated the virus might be anatomically similar to an amphibian pathogen the frog's mucus is genetically programmed to eradicate, according to the report.

Dr. Jacob said the next step is to test the effectiveness of the peptide against the virus in ferrets. If the trials are successful, human testing may be the next step, according to the report.

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