Researchers found a possible substance that may significantly advance current immunization to the H1N1 flu. But you might not want it if you knew what it was – it’s frog mucus!
H1N1 – The Modern Deadly Influenza Outbreak
H1N1, commonly known as the swine flu, caused a huge panic in 2009. This strain of the flu virus isn’t a cousin of the usual flu virus strains that infect people during the flu seasons. It’s a mutated strain that’s closer genetically to the flu virus strains that infect swine (which is how it got its nickname).
What makes the H1N1 virus so devastating is that it multiplies faster than normal flu viruses and attacks other kinds of cells in the lungs that most flu viruses couldn’t target. The H1N1 strain also targets younger people, whereas the usual flu virus strains targets the frail and older generation.
H1N1 quickly became the dominant flu virus strain that infected people – pushing out the previous generation strain almost completely. In fact, by October 2009 between 92 to 96 percent of circulating flu virus specimens were H1N1.
Within about three or four months of the first few reported incidents of H1N1 virus infections in 2009, H1N1 spread globally and the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic. In the beginning there was no vaccine for the fatal flu virus strain. A total of up to 89 million people ended up infected with the H1N1 virus and over 18,366 people died form it. The H1N1 epidemic also caused up to 403,000 hospitalizations.
Frogs Might Be the Key to Better Immunization Against H1N1
Scientists are looking closely at a specie of southern India frog that’s as big as a tennis ball. They found that the mucus these frogs secrete on the surface of their skins contains a chemical that targets a specific protein on all H1 strain viruses.
When the frog mucus chemical, called urumin, comes into contact with an H1-type virus, it attacks an integral protein that causes the virus to fall apart. Scientists were shocked that urumin works on all H1-type flu virus strains going back from 1931 to the present H1 strains in circulation.
Of course it’s too soon to celebrate. This is cutting-edge research that will take years before a safe human application is developed. They’re going to start testing urumin-based treatments on ferrets first, then move on to clinical trials later on.
The good news is that insofar, urumin seems to be non-toxic to human cells. But only time and more testing can tell whether it’s completely safe for human application.
Flu Prevention Tips
In the meantime, if you’re at risk for being significantly harmed should you contract the flu, then it’s best to get the flu vaccine. Doctors say the flu vaccine is the best effective method to prevent influenza infections. But vaccines have side effects, and the flu vaccine is no exception.
If you’re not at risk for significant harm from an influenza infection, you can lower your risk of infection by taking a few supplements. There is an age-old debate around whether vitamin C and zinc can prevent colds and flus – some research says no while others say yes. Doctors do agree that vitamin C lowers the severity and length of a cold or flu infection. The same goes for zinc.
Vitamin D has also been correlated with cold and flu infection. Researchers found that when a population’s vitamin D levels are lower, there’s an increased prevalence of cold and flu infection. There’s some evidence that taking 50,000 IU of Vitamin D3 once can shorten the length of the flu to only two or three days. They also found that taking 600 IU of vitamin D3 daily can help prevent colds and flus.
Until the frog mucus treatment comes out, take these three supplements (zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D) to boost your protection against the flu and cold.