Frog slime kills flu virus: Mining host defense peptides found in skin mucus
Summary: Frogs are known to protect themselves from bacteria using peptide secretions. Researchers at Emory Vaccine Center and the Rajiv Gandhi Center have found that a component of the skin mucus secreted by South Indian frogs have the ability to kill the H1 strain of influenza viruses by disrupting the integrity of the H1 virus and binding to the stalk of hemagglutinin.
Connection: Discovering a new way of controlling a flu virus relates to controlling pathogenic bacteria. New methods of controlling the H1 influenza strain allows for alternatives treatments of H1 just in case other methods become unusable in the case of resistance.
Analysis: I found the idea of utilizing methods found in nature for controlling viruses very exciting. Assuming that the specific peptides can be isolated, we can use this in medicine by either harvesting the secretions or recreating the peptide in lab. The research seems promising. Mice studies show that treatment with this peptide, named “urumin” by the scientists, can successfully treat influenza but further studies and tests are need to stabilize the antiviral peptide as well as insuring it is safe and functional for humans. The study presented by the article is very interesting and easily read by non-scientific readers.
Questions: This article mentions that other antimicrobial peptides have been difficult to utilize in medicine. What peptides have been used before and how were they obtained?