Scientists, through a new study, have discovered that the mucus secreted from a frog species can treat the influenza by killing the virus responsible for it.
In this study published in Immunity journal, the results of analysis of slime obtained from colourful tennis ball sized species of frog have been revealed. This species of frog, scientifically called hydrophylax bahuvistara, is found in the south-western forest region of India specifically in Kerala.
Scientists forcefully secreted the mucus from frog’s skin by giving it a light electric shock, which was then tested in a laboratory. Peptide, the chemical discovered in mucus, killed the flu virus while keeping the health tissues safe. The peptide that was found in the mucus was separated with other chemicals present in it.
According to the lead scientist of this discovery Joshy Jacob, researcher at Emory University in Atlanta, out of the four peptides found in the frog’s slime, only one has proved to be useful. The other three when tested, destroyed red blood cells and the tissues. He also adds that the flu happens when the flu viruses cross the protection surface named haemagglutinin to reach to the cells thus causing infection. This peptide in frog’s mucus will help prevent the infection by deneutralizing the viruses.
This peptide has been named Urumin by the researchers. The reason behind such a nomenclature is the Indian sword know as urumi which has a flexible blade, used popularly in the southern region of Kerala. This urumin has also been injected to mice and the results revealed that the vaccination of urumin protects them from the deadly swine flu virus.
Scientists now look for more chemical compounds from the mucus of frog which treat other contagious diseases. The discovery of Urumin has generated hope for the development of a full fledged drug to tackle the flu Influenza which has deadly threat especially on the elderly and the infants.