Peptide found in frog mucus protects against influenza virus

In the search for new drugs to treat cases of flu, scientists have found a unique class of antiviral agent in amphibians.

Hydrophylax bahuvistara or fungoid frog

There is an increasing need for new antiviral agents against influenza-A viruses as during flu pandemics there is insufficient time to produce vaccines. Frog mucus contains a number of molecules known to be capable of killing some bacteria and viruses.

Researchers have discovered that a host defence peptide (HDP), taken from the skin of the southern Indian Hydrophylax bahuvistara frog, can destroy many strains of human flu.

Published in Immunity
[1]
(18 April 2017), the study found that by targeting the conserved stalk region of H1 haemagglutinin in a similar way to antibodies induced by universal flu vaccines, the HDP, which they named urumin, could physically destroy drug-resistant H1 influenza viruses. It was also found to protect mice from lethal influenza infection.

The researchers concluded that urumin could potentially contribute to first-line antiviral treatments during outbreaks of flu, particularly as HDPs are less prone to resistance than conventional drug therapies.

References

[1] Holthausen DJ, Lee SH, Kumar VTV et al. An amphibian host defense peptide is virucidal for human H1 hemagglutinin-bearing influenza viruses. Immunity 2017:46;1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2017.03.018

Last updated
Citation
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, June 2017, Vol 9, No 6;9(6):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20202705