Scientist discovered the mucus of a rare frog, Hydrophylax bahuvistara, a bright orange with a size of a tennis ball that is found in South Indian jungle can provide a basis for a powerful new class of drug to fight influenza.
The frog was found to contain host defense peptides that were proved to destroy numerous strains of human flu while protecting normal cells.
The discovery caused excitement to the researchers because the peptide showed it binds to a protein that is identical to dozens of strains of the disease increasing the drug's potency.
Even if there is a positive discovery about the Keralan amphibian, people are still advised to treat it with caution because three out of four of the peptides found in the mucus were found to be toxic to humans.
The beneficial element was named "urumin" by the scientists at Emory University, named after a sword with a flexible blade that snaps and bends like a whip from the same Indian province.
Josh Jacob of Emory University said it is a natural innate immune mediator that all living organisms maintain. They just happened to find that one frog happens to be effective against the H1 influenza type.
The H1 influenza type virus needs hemagglutinin to get inside human cells and infects us. The peptide discovered from the frog works by binding to the hemagglutinin, then destabilizes the virus and later kills it.
Jacob said he was almost knocked off his chair. He thought in the beginning that when you discover a drug, you have to go through thousands of drug candidates, even a million before getting 1 or 2 hits. But in this discovery, there were 32 peptides, and they had 4 hits.