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Compound found in frog slime destroys flu virus

19/04/2017

Compound found in frog slime destroys flu virusA compound found in the slimy mucus from a particular species of frog in India destroys the influenza (flu) virus, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Immunity.

Researchers from the Emory Vaccine Centre and the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in India say the frog slime destroys the H1 variety of influenza viruses. It's hoped that the discovery will lead to powerful new flu remedies being developed in the future.

The frog, called hydrophylax bahuvistara, is a type of fungoid frog which was first discovered in 2015 and lives in the forests of south west India. It has an eye-catching orange stripe down the back of its body.

For the study, the researchers collected secretions from the frogs' skin before releasing them back into the wild. They then began analysing the different chemicals found in the slime.

They managed to isolate small structures that act as "anti-flu peptides", which were used to successfully vaccinate mice against the swine flu virus (Influenza A of H1). The peptides were found to not only blow up the virus, but also leave healthy tissue intact.

Speaking to NBC News, Dr Jacob, senior study author and associate professor in microbiology, said: "This peptide kills the viruses. It kind of blows them up. There's no collateral damage."

The team decided to call the flu-destroying compound urumin, after an Indian whip-like sword used in martial arts in the south of India called an urumi.
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