Sanil George & Jessica Shartouny
The next flu drug could come from frog mucus. It’s not as crazy as it sounds: For decades, scientists have searched for new antiviral drugs by mining proteins that animals produce to protect themselves from microbes. In lab tests, proteins found in amphibian secretions can defend against HIV, herpes and now the flu.
David Holthausen of Emory University in Atlanta and colleagues sampled slime from the skin of Hydrophylax bahuvistara, a recently discovered frog species from southern India. They tested the influenza-fighting ability of 32 slime peptides. Four showed promise, but three proved toxic to mammals.
The fourth peptide, however, was safe and showed a propensity