Antibiotics have been successful, so much so that people want them even when they have a viral infection. Of course, bacterial killers don’t touch viruses. And anti-viral drugs haven’t proven to be so great. So, let’s try frog mucous.
At one time, it was thought putting a frog into a bucket of milk might prevent it from going sour. Of course, fairly tales are filled with stories of touching a frog or kissing a frog. Likely, it all harkens back to what cultures have known for eons about at least some frogs and the anti-viral properties of their skin.
Today, researchers discovered that a colorful tennis ball-size frog from India, Hydrophylax bahuvistara, produces a compound in its skin mucus that can neutralize numerous strains of H1 influenza viruses, which are known to infect humans and other animals. As a result, the compound—a host defense peptide described in the journal Immunity—could lead to a future influenza vaccine and/or drug treatment.
The mucous of this species of frog skin contains four peptides that can potentially neutralize viruses affecting people (and conceivably dogs). There’s only one slight hitch: Three of these peptides are also toxic to humans.
However, the fourth could be a winner.
Using electron microscopy, researchers showed that this defense peptide disrupts the integrity of the H1 flu virus while leaving overall cells intact.