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Posted by: thepinetree on 04/18/2017 08:20 PM Updated by: thepinetree on 04/18/2017 08:20 PM
Expires: 01/01/2022 12:00 AM

Researchers Find Frog Slime Kills Flu Virus

Atlanta, GA...A component of the skin mucus secreted by South Indian frogs can kill the H1 variety of influenza viruses, researchers from Emory Vaccine Center and the Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology in India have discovered. Frogs' skins were known to secrete peptides that defend them against bacteria. The finding, published Tuesday in Immunity, suggests that the peptides represent a resource for antiviral drug discovery as well.

Skin secretions from the Indian frog Hydrophylax bahuvistara contain antiviral peptides. One peptide, which Emory researchers named urumin, can physicially destroy H1 influenza virions. Combination photo courtesy of Sanil George and Jessica Shartouny.

Anti-flu peptides could become handy when vaccines are unavailable, in the case of a new pandemic strain, or when circulating strains become resistant to current drugs, says senior author Joshy Jacob, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Emory Vaccine Center and Emory University School of Medicine.

The first author of the paper is graduate student David Holthausen, and the research grew out of collaboration with M.R. Pillai, PhD and Sanil George, PhD from the Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology.

Jacob and his colleagues named one of the antiviral peptides they identified urumin, after a whip-like sword called "urumi" used in southern India centuries ago. Urumin was found in skin secretions from the Indian frog Hydrophylax bahuvistara, which were collected after mild electrical stimulation.

Peptides are short chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Some anti-bacterial peptides work by punching holes in cell membranes, and are thus toxic to mammalian cells. Some antiviral peptides from the frogs were toxic in this way, but urumin was not. Instead, it appears to only disrupt the integrity of flu virus, as seen through electron microscopy.

"I was almost knocked off my chair," Jacob says. "In the beginning, I thought that when you do drug discovery, you have to go through thousands of drug candidates, even a million, before you get 1 or 2 hits. And here we did 32 peptides, and we had 4 hits."

It turns out that urumin binds the stalk of hemagglutinin, a less variable region of the flu virus that is also the target of proposed universal vaccines. This specificity could be valuable because current anti-influenza drugs target other parts of the virus, Jacob says. Because flu viruses from humans cannot infect frogs, producing urumin probably confers on frogs an advantage in fighting some other pathogen, he says.

Delivered intranasally, urumin protected unvaccinated mice against a lethal dose of some flu viruses. Urumin was specific for H1 strains of flu, such as the 2009 pandemic strain, and was not effective against other current strains such as H3N2.

Developing antimicrobial peptides into effective drugs has been a challenge in the past, partly because enzymes in the body can break them down. Jacob's lab is now exploring ways to stabilize antiviral peptides such as urumin, as well as looking for frog-derived peptides that are active against other viruses like dengue and Zika.

Emory co-authors include research associate Song Hee Lee, PhD, senior research associate Ali Ellebedy, PhD and assistant professors Jens Wrammert, PhD and Anice Lowen, PhD. Holthausen is in the Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis graduate program. Jacob's lab is based at Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

The research was supported by Emory University and by the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (Primate centers: P51OD11132).

Comments - Make a comment
The comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for its content. We value free speech but remember this is a public forum and we hope that people would use common sense and decency. If you see an offensive comment please email us at
No Subject
Posted on: 2017-04-18 21:36:24   By: Anonymous

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2017-04-19 07:33:08   By: Anonymous
It would be hugely ironic if we found many of the cures to today's super flus, even cancers, in the creatures and habitats that we are destroying.

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2017-04-19 07:50:32   By: Anonymous

    [Reply ]

    Posted on: 2017-04-19 08:50:01   By: Anonymous
    Indeed. Know thyself. When one truly knows thyself, one can heal thyself. Simple as that.

    [Reply ]

      Re: Ribbet
      Posted on: 2017-04-19 11:03:52   By: Anonymous
      I carry a frog in my pocket and when the flu feels like it's coming on, I lick the frog a couple of times.

      Still flu free and cheaper than those do-nothing flu vaccines.

      [Reply ]

        Re: Ribbet
        Posted on: 2017-04-19 14:00:40   By: Anonymous
        You lick it!!!!!? Do you know what kind of "scretions" you are ingesting? Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww.

        [Reply ]

          Re: Ribbet
          Posted on: 2017-04-19 21:15:00   By: Anonymous
          Anti-flu peptides that're handy instead of vaccines.

          Hummmmm...Baby.....Lick it,...Lick it REAL Good!

          [Reply ]

        Re: Ribbet
        Posted on: 2017-04-19 14:01:46   By: Anonymous

        [Reply ]

    Posted on: 2017-04-20 05:38:06   By: Anonymous
    Well, there goes another species we'll kill off.
    This news is coming from the same people who found a 9 to 11 year old girl being raised by monkeys in India. I read it on the Internet, so it has to be true.

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2017-04-19 08:28:12   By: Anonymous

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2017-04-19 08:46:48   By: Anonymous

    [Reply ]

      Posted on: 2017-04-19 09:24:35   By: Anonymous

      [Reply ]

        Posted on: 2017-04-19 09:53:30   By: Anonymous

        [Reply ]

          Posted on: 2017-04-19 11:04:38   By: Anonymous
          Don't you mean Flu Goop?

          [Reply ]

            Re: Ribbet
            Posted on: 2017-04-19 12:14:50   By: Anonymous
            You lick it!!!!!? Do you know what kind of "scretions" you are ingesting? Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww.

            [Reply ]

              Re: Ribbet
              Posted on: 2017-04-20 05:35:41   By: Anonymous
              Oh, you're a spitter, you don't swallow?

              [Reply ]

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