Slime from FROGS 'may be able to cure the flu'

It has perplexed scientists for years but a cure for flu may finally have been found – in the mucus of FROGS.

Fungoid frogs from southern India secrete slime which contains a potent anti-flu molecule, according to scientists.

Named ‘urumin’, after a traditional sword used in the region of India where the species of frog lives, the peptide has the ability to neutralise dozens of flu strains, dating right back to 1934.

Fungoid frogs secrete mucus that contains peptides that can kill the flu virus (Wikipedia)
Fungoid frogs secrete mucus that contains peptides that can kill the flu virus (Wikipedia)

It has also proved effective in protecting mice from lethal doses of flu viruses, opening the door to a potential cure.

US researcher Dr Joshy Jacob said: “I was almost knocked off my chair.

“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 one or two hits.

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“And here we did 32 peptides, and we had four hits.”

Scientists believe that the peptide will be particularly useful once current flu strains starts to become resistant to current anti-viral drugs.

Here’s the science part: urumin dismantles the flu virus after attaching itself to an area less likely to mutate into resistant new forms.

Other frog peptides have proved themselves toxic to human blood cells so scientists are excited by urumin as it has the double advantage of being safe to humans and lethal to the flu virus.

Dr Jacob’s team are now searching for more frog-derived peptides that are effective against other viruses, including dengue fever and Zika.

Top pic: WIkipedia