A substance found in the protective slime covering frogs kills the influenza virus and may even hold the key to a flu vaccine, according to new research.
The mucus coating contains host defense peptides, which protect the amphibian from bacteria and viruses, and one has proven to be a potent weapon against human strains of the flu.
Scientists have long speculated that host defense peptides could be the source of effective antimicrobial drugs, so researchers from Emory University examined 32 different peptides to see how they fared against the influenza virus, according to Popular Science.
In their findings, published Tuesday in the journal Immunity, the scientists showed how one peptide found on South Indian frogs destroyed dozens of influenza virus strains, from samples dating back to 1934 through today.
Urumin, the name given to the flu-busting peptide by researchers, works by targeting the virus protein called hemagglutinin, the “H” in H1N1. The peptide binds with the hemagglutinin destabilizing and ultimately destroying the virus.
Researchers still don’t understand the precise mechanics of this process and believe that may hold the key to creating an anti-flu drug.