Frog Slime Could Protect Against Flu Epidemics

Researchers have found that secretions from the skin of a frog in South India called Hydrophylax Bahuvistara can help battle the flu virus. During research they found the secretions contained a peptide which could kill certain types of flu virus in the lab.

They have named the peptide ‘Urumi’ after a short, curved sword traditionally used in the region.

In the research they carried out that 3 out 10 mice died from the virus when given the Urumi peptide in a lab setting. This is compared to 8 out of 10 mice who died but were not given Urumi.

Despite this success researches are hesitant to pronounce it a cure. This is because it is only effective against some flu viruses, not all. For example, it is not effective against the 2009 swine flu virus.

However researchers are celebrating and considering this discovery a minor victory. Current flu antivirals perform with limited effectiveness and there is always a concern that a new pandemic may hit.

This particular piece of research was conducted as various breeds of frogs are known to secrete substances from their skin which protects them from bacteria and viruses. It is worth noting that secretion examples were collected from frogs which were then released back into the wild. The secretions were then tested in the lab.

During the process they tested to see if the peptide was harmful to human cells. Once it was identified it was not harmful, and could be suitable for humans, they moved onto testing it on mice.

They gave one group of mice a dose of urumi and another group an inactive control liquid five minutes before infecting them with the flu virus. They then gave them urumi or the control liquid daily for the next three days and compared how the infection affected the mice’s weight (as ill mice lose weight), how many mice died, and how much flu virus was present in their lungs.

The results from the test have so far being shown to be extremely positive.

By becoming a trained phlebotomist it is not inconceivable that you may be involved in a process like this, as you may extract the blood which makes a discovery like this possible. To find out more about being a phlebotomist, and the course we offer, just call us on 01609 751 610.


New method for mass producing red blood cells discovered

A team of scientists at the University of Bristol and NHS Blood and Transplant, have made a recent discovery which could revolutionise blood donation.

Although blood can already be produced in the lab, this is on a relatively small scale. This new discovery has uncovered a way to produce an unlimited supply of blood by using a technique which triggers stem cells in their early stages of growth to become red blood cells. This newly discovered technique could therefore solve the problem of scale and the constant need for more donors.

There are challenges with this discovery however, mainly the cost, as well as the need for manufacturing technology required for this method to be effective on a large scale. If these challenges can be overcome and the technology can be successfully engineered, the mass production of red blood cells could help treat specific conditions and save many lives. It could also be particularly ground breaking for people with rare blood types, as priority could be put on mass producing these types of red blood cells. Scientists are therefore planning to make this their next phase of research as well as carrying out safety trials on lab made blood.

If effective large scale manufacturing methods are determined and safety trials are successful, this new method could be used in conjunction with the traditional method of donating blood which would be highly valuable in helping clinicians save lives.

Phlebotomy Training Services provide phlebotomy training to a huge array of people, including medical researchers. To find out more about the services we offer, including the new diploma in phlebotomy then just call us on 01609 751 610.