Frog Mucus Studied to Create Flu Medicine

Anything can become a gift of a curse to survival in this world. While diseases such as influenza continue to threaten the lives of many, scientists are claiming to find the answers for the disease in a very unlikely place: the mucus layer of frogs.

Frog Mucus Being Studied by Emory University

The scientists at Emory University have been working on the discovery of an antimicrobial peptide based in the skin of a specific frog species – the hydrophylax bahuvistara – and its potential use against the flu. The species of frog is indigenous to a location in south India, and its mucus is being hailed as a viable treatment to a disease that claims close to half a million patients per year all over the globe.

The frog has been understood to secrete a thin layer of film on top of its skin that works to protect the frog from harmful pathogens in the wild. Residing in this mucus film is and amino acid string that is claimed to be capable of completely eliminating a massive array of viruses from the influenza A family, while being harmless to the human body and its red blood cells.

Why This is a Big Thing

The potential of the discovery is huge, as the new string can be a strong answer to the current line of flu viruses, a lot of which have already developed resistance to existing antiviral drugs. However, the amino acid string is likely to face a long list of regulatory and testing hurdles before it can be commercialized as an actual treatment for the flu.

To show the potential of the discovery, the strains from the frog mucus were utilized to completely destroy every type of H1 flu it was put up against. The H1 strain of flu, the most common version of hemagglutinin, also includes the seasonal flue and the widely dreaded swine flu, H1N1. The team of scientists has christened the amino acid string as “urumin,” a nickname generated from the urumi, a sword used in martial arts of Kalari Payat, practiced close to the region where the frogs were found.

The discovery has been hailed to hold a strong potential against upcoming new strains of influenza, much like the swine flu strains that started appearing around 2009.