Frog slime could become cure for flu

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A compound found in the protective slime of an Indian frog destroys flu viruses and might become a powerful new drug to treat influenza, according to research.

The compound cured mice of killer doses of human flu. Researchers hope to develop it and other compounds like it into antiviral drugs to treat people.

The research team reported its findings in the journal Immunity.

The team found the peptide in mucus taken from the skin of a frog species called Hydrophylax bahuvistara, found only recently in India.

Like most frogs, it secretes protective compounds in its mucus to protect it from bacteria and fungi that can infect frogs. This particular compound works against H1 influenza viruses.

It does not affect other flu strains such as the H3N2 flu and influenza B.

Most drugs that look hopeful early in development fail at some point in experimental stages. The frog slime is almost certainly years away from being made into a drug.