Frogs

Frogs are curious little creatures. The hundreds of different known frog species have different looks and different abilities and humans have dedicated a lot of time and effort to figuring those out. From those that can kill you just by touching your skin to those who can get you high, frogs have never ceased to amaze.

Recently, an amazing discovery was made on a species of frogs from the South of India called Hydrophylax Bahuvistaraa. During a study by researchers at the Emory University, it was found that this species produces peptides that can form an efficient killer of the H1 influenza virus.

  • Different animal species including humans create different types of peptides as part of their immune system. These secretions depend on the animals living environment and are extremely varied and different from a species to another. During a trip of Kerala in South India, the authors of the study analyzed this relatively newly discovered frog and found that it happens to create peptides that are effective in fighting the flu virus.
  • The discovery was an extremely lucky one as when scientists are usually developing a new drug, they have to go through millions of peptide candidates before finding a single match that would work on human cells. Whereas this study just required thirty two peptide trials before scoring 4 hits.
  • These peptides work by attaching themselves to virus proteins attached to our cells and use this connection to penetrate them. Once inside they will either work solely on the virus or affect the cell as well damaging it in the process. Luckily, in the course of this study, when the 4 peptides were tested on human cells, one of them destroyed the virus while leaving the human cell intact. And thus the peptide was tested on infected mice and protected them successfully from harm.

The drug clearly needs more research before it can be published in commercial form but the scientists are hopeful that more research will eventually give us something we can work with using this frog’s peptides.