Skin mucus dwelling in South India frog Hydrophylax bahuvistara contains a compound that kills bacteria and viruses.
A new study from researchers at Emory University shows that a chemical in the mucus of the South Indian frogs can kill some strains of the flu virus. Take some time to transfer this conclusion to practical medicine, but the discovery could lead to the development of a completely new class of potent antiviral drugs.
Skin mucus South Indian frog Hydrophylax bahuvistara contains a compound that kills bacteria and viruses, according to the research report published in the latest issue of the journal Immunity. In experiments on mice, the synthesized version of the substance successfully destroyed a variety of influenza viruses, namely the pandemic strain H1, which every year becomes a problem №1 in zdravoohranenii around the world. Researchers believe that in the end, on the basis of this connection can be established drug that is effective than the flu vaccine.
Unfortunately, this compound, called “Urumin” (Oromin), not very long lived in the body, so scientists are now trying to figure out how to make it more stable. However, the discovery shows that amphibians, and possibly other animals, are a potential new source of anti flu viruses. The scientists who conducted the study, hope that the chemical compounds in the mucus of the frog, can be used against other viral diseases such as dengue fever and zika.
Frogs don’t get sick with the flu, but they are susceptible to bacterial infections and other diseases. Therefore, scientists at Emory University had good reason to suspect that some peptides similar to peptides are short chains of amino acids that form the building blocks of proteins – have anti-viral protection.
Left: the flu Virus prior to exposure to peptide. Right: the virus, which appears after impact. The peptide binds to the virus and literally parse it apart. (Image: Gizmodo, David Holthausen)
“Peptides derived from the skin of the frog have antibacterial activity. We hypothesized that some of the peptides may also have antiviral activity and, therefore, we decided to test their effect on different influenza viruses,” said lead researcher joshy Jacob Jacob, Joshy in an interview with Gizmodo. “Frogs are almost certainly isolated this peptide to combat some pathogen. The flu virus most likely target.”
Indeed, the peptide appears to be a pretty good attack of the flu. He joins the hemagglutinin, the main protein on the surface of the influenza virus causing the virus becomes deformed and dies.
Some antimicrobial peptides work by disrupting cell membranes, making them toxic to mammalian cells, but in the case of Urumin this, according to the observations of researchers. Tests on mice showed that the compound was effective against dozens of H1 strains, including the pandemic strain of 2009. At the same time against H3N2 and other influenza strains, the compound was powerless. Future experiments should show that the compound is equally effective and safe for humans.
The good news is that Urumin can be chemically synthesized, so we don’t have to build a frog farm for the extraction of large quantities of material. The bad news is that our bodies are really good at destroying and getting rid of foreign peptides. Stabilizacija peptides frogs in the human body is the problem, quotes the words of Jacob Gizmodo, “but we are currently working on it.”
One of the most incredible aspects of this study is how easy it was found the peptide. Typically, the discovery process of medicinal substance includes the screening of thousands or even millions of candidates to the emergence of promising compounds. In the course of his research, team Jacob examined the effects of only 32 frog peptides for influenza viruses, and onositelno easily found Urumin. “I almost fell off my chair,” smiles Jacob.
Surprisingly, almost all animals seem to produce at least a few antimicrobial peptides. This study once again confirms that nature has invented medicines for some of the worst diseases in the world, and the scientists only need to use this inexhaustible pharmacological pantry.