A new study found quite a surprising potential new flu virus killer. Researchers determined that a specific frog’s skin compound can help destroy the H1 influenza strains. Study results were published in the Immunity journal.
This Potentially Useful Skin Compound Is Secreted By An Indian Frog Species
Research was carried out by Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology in India and the Emory Vaccine Center at the Emory University School of Medicine specialists. The team was led by Joshy Jacob, a Ph.D. and lead author of the paper.
Previous studies had already shown that a frog’s skin secretes a mucus containing “host defense peptides”. These are capable of protecting it from potentially harmful bacteria. This new report is based on such finds and discovered that the South Indian frogs’ mucus could be even more helpful.
More exactly, this species’ skin compound could potentially be useful in developing new antiviral drugs. They could do so as the respective secretion was noted to act as an “anti-flu peptide”. The research team named of the newly discovered antiviral peptides “urumin”.
Peptides are tiny compounds composed of a tiny chain of amino acids. These are also seen as the “building blocks of proteins”.
The team collected ‘urumin’ from the skin compound secreted by the Indian frog species Hydrophylax bahuvistara. They managed to do so with help from ‘mild electrical stimulation’. Then, the scientists analyzed the peptide under the electron microscope. As such, they discovered that urumin is capable of disrupting only the flu strains’ integrity.
Other antibacterial peptides were seen to affect and even be poisonous to the mammalian cells as they “punctured holes” in the cell membrane.
The study team then tested the product in a series of lab tests involving mice. These showed that this frog’s skin compound was most effective against the H1 flu strain. At the same time, it was not as effective when dealing with more current ones, like the H3N2.
“Because flu viruses from humans cannot infect frogs, producing urumin probably confers on frogs an advantage in fighting some other pathogen.” This is according to the Jacob.
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