The bright orange Hudrophylax bahuvistara was found to contain “host defence peptides”
The bright orange Hudrophylax bahuvistara was found to contain “host defence peptides” that could destroy strains of the human flu, while protecting normal cells.
Researchers also found that the peptide could bind to a protein that is identical across “dozens” of strains of the disease, improving its potential potency as a drug to combat the virus.
Josh Jacob, researcher at Emory University in Atlanta, said the compound named urumin "represents a novel antiviral against human influenza viruses of the H1 subtype”.
The development could lead to a new vaccine
It can be used as an antiviral drug against H1 influenza viruses when a pandemic occurs and there is insufficient time to make a vaccine
Josh Jacob, researcher
He said: “It’s a natural innate immune mediator that all living organisms maintain.
“We just happened to find one that the frog makes that just happens to be effective against the H1 influenza type.”
This peptide binds to haemagglutinin, a protein found on the surface of influenza viruses, and manages to destroy them physically.
The study said: ”Urumin is a unique class of anti-influenza viricide specifically targeting haemagglutinin.”
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Researchers believe that urumin therefore has “the potential to contribute” to treatments during a flu outbreak.
Mr Jacob added: "It can be used as an antiviral drug against H1 influenza viruses when a pandemic occurs and there is insufficient time to make a vaccine.
“I was almost knocked off my chair.
Researchers believe the urumin has the potential to contribute to treatments
"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.
"And here we did 32 peptides, and we had four hits."