Jun 24, 2017 | Updated: 06:02 PM EDT

Frogs Can Kill H1N1 Flu Viruses With The Peptide From Their Slimy Mucus

Apr 19, 2017 05:10 AM EDT

Researchers use frog mucus: to fight the human influenza virus H1N1.
(Photo : Science and more/Youtube) Researchers use frog mucus: to fight the human influenza virus H1N1.
Some frog mucus contains antimicrobial peptides, which are molecules of the immune system that can neutralize bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
However, the power of influenza-killing of such peptides has been demonstrated only under a microscope and in laboratory mice. More research is needed to determine how effective a peptide can be in helping humans beat the flu.

Scientists found antibacterial and antiviral properties from the frog mucus while doing several studies on the potential sources for new anti-microbial drugs. A tennis-ball-sized small frog species named Hydrophylax bahuvistara from Southern India has host defense peptides at their mucus slime. These peptides can destroy H1N1 flu viruses strains that are responsible for Influenza in Humans and several infections in mice.

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In the paper published on the journal Immunity on April 18 researchers described that they have discovered the evidence of flu-killing ability in this peptide for the first time and soon they will use this frog peptide to prepare anti-flu drug. During the lab experiment, researchers observed that the peptide binds to H1N1 flu virus protein to neutralize the flu strains. It is effective on dozens of strains from the 1934 archival viruses to modern ones.

Virus specialist Joshy Jacob who was leading the research for the drugs against H1N1 flu viruses, said in a statement,“It's a natural innate immune mediator that all living organisms maintain. We just happened to find one that the frog makes that just happens to be effective against the H1 influenza type”. However, different frogs have different peptides which depend on their habitat. Researchers named this peptide as “Urumin”, after the honor of Urumi sword from Kerala, India that is famous for it’s sharp and flexible blade.

According to Eurekalert, almost all animals have their own host defense peptides but this frog took attention of scientists because it is easier to isolate the peptides from their mucus. To collect the peptide, researcher just gave a small electric shock to the frogs and rub a powder. Now, a team of scientists from Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology in Kerala is working on the peptide isolation from all local frog species to screen their antibacterial and anti-viral functionality to create a drug for H1N1 flu viruses.

Jacob and his team have screened on 32 frog defense peptides and four of them had anti-flu properties. Unfortunately, three out of the four peptides proved toxic for humans while human red blood cells were exposed in a dish. However, the fourth Urumin was totally harmless for humans and lethal for a vast range of viruses. Researchers are now working on the flu-destroying mechanism of urumin to fight against the H1N1flu viruses. Viruses get inside the blood cells with the help of their hemagglutinin protein and the Urumin binds with hemagglutinin to destabilize the virus.


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