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Frog Kissing: The Antidote For Flu Virus?

First Posted: Apr 20, 2017 05:09 AM EDT
Frog Kissing: The Antidote For Flu Virus?
It is not just any frog but only Hydrophylax bahuvistara.
(Photo : SciShow/YouTube screenshot)

Almost all people have heard about The Frog Prince fairy tale in which kissing the frog turns it into a prince. However, that is never going to happen for real. And yet, some biologists believe that (hypothetically) kissing the Hydrophylax bahuvistara frog may help in curing flu.

A recent study conducted by researchers from Emory University's School of Medicine indicated that the slime of the Hydrophylax bahuvistara, a South Indian frog species, contains highly potent antiviral and antibacterial compounds. According to the study results published in the Immunity journal, the frog slime compound "urumin" is highly effective in killing influenza viruses, as noted by Smithsonian.com.

Biochemical and molecular analysis of these compounds indicated that they are short peptides that are loaded with antibacterial and antiviral properties. Since a frog is never going to catch cold and flu, the presence of anti-influenza compounds on its surface is highly unexpected.

According to scientists, frogs do not get sick with flu, i.e., they are not infected by influenza viruses. However, they harbor many bacterial species on and inside their body. It is quite possible that some of the antibacterial motifs produced by the frog may have overlapping regions with that of the influenza virus. This may be the reason behind the flu virus-specific inhibitory activities of these frog proteins, Gizmodo reported.

Discovery of these antiviral compounds opens up new realms toward its application in clinical treatment processes. Unfortunately, the urumin frog peptides are extremely unstable inside the human body. This restricts the direct application of these compounds in the development of pharmaceutical drugs specific for curing flu. This also means that frog kissing is not going to cure flu.

According to New Atlas, scientists have proposed, though not directly, that these frog compounds may trigger the process of development of a new line of anti-flu drugs. To do this, the detailed structural elucidation of the compound must be done. The same can be used to produce synthetic compounds that can mimic the structure and antiviral properties of the natural compound.

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