The Fish Story

Fighting the Flu With Frog Goo; Mom and Dad Will Never Know

By JAY MANN | Apr 25, 2017

Let’s see, in just the past few weeks, I’ve exposed how dogfish and ticks are harboring inner ingredients that might soon be rescuing all of humanity from maladies and madness. This week, I’m thematically compelled to offer what might be the strangest emerging curative this side of Calcutta.

Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, and Rajiv Gandhi Center in Poojapura, India, are homing in on utterly unique peptides found in the slime of a rare Indian frog. These goo-based peptides are demonstrating an uncanny ability to defeat influenza, arguably the most dangerous disease on the planet.

Early returns show the good goo of this woodlands frog seems to “blow up” any number of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Yes, “blow up.”

“This peptide kills the viruses. It kind of blows them up,” Joshy Jacob of Emory University, who led a study team, told NBC News.

And we’ve all known more than a few flu viruses we would gladly have blown back to the Stone Age.

As to what damage those slime-on-virus detonations might do inside of us, not to worry. The inner battle poses absolutely no danger to healthy tissue. “There’s no collateral damage,” is how Jacob words it.

High on the list of influenzas being targeted for frog-slime therapy is the dreaded H1N1 human flu virus. One of the Indian frog’s wonder peptides, known as urumin, specifically seeks and destroys H1N1 flu viruses, per a study just published in the journal Immunity.

The frog of the hour is best known only as Hydrophylax bahuvistara, common in only uncommon regions of India, i.e. it’s really rare.

Among scientists, the species goes by the cuddly nickname of H. bahuvistara – which displays the desperate need to teach scientists better nicknaming skills.

H. bahuvistara is so new that nobody has yet to give it a cute little street name – perhaps, Mann’s slimy flu-killer frog. Hey, if nobody is going to step up and name it. Imagine the potential for residuals when it becomes world famous.

For any lovers of anurans (frogs, toads), H. bahuvistara is a type of fungoid frog. Yes, you can use that term even when there’s a bunch of them sitting nearby. It simply means they reside on forest floors, which, in India, means they tend to hang among sundry fungi. In fact, it is suggested that their magic peptides might be the result of developing evolutionary immunities to fight any nastier nearby fungi.

On looks alone, H. bahuvistara resembles our local wood frogs. However, H. bahuvistara’s divine anti-bug slime sets them apart – though, who’s to say how a cold might respond to a sufferer sucking wood frogs, like lozenges. Just wonderin’ – not tryin’.

In case this discovery seems worlds away, it is suggested there could soon be worldwide cold and flu treatments rich in Mann’s slimy flu-killer frog peptides.

PS: I’ve seen the slime of poison frogs in South America down a tree-high monkey, instantly – helped along by a blowgun dart shot by a native down below, who runs into the bush to grab the downed monkey only to be jabbed by some curare-armed plants, rendering him too dazed to walk, and falls easy prey to an 18-wheeler-length anaconda, which is readying to swallow the native when it’s put upon by a sports-sedan-sized jaguar, crazed on jungle-grade catnip – just in case you have any dreamy notions about leaving everything behind by moving into the jungles of South America, just like I did before researching poisonous frogs.

CLASSIC GROWTH: The Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic Committee is thinking bigger and better this year … and I’m lovin’ it.

This fall, the famed surfcasting event will be extended to nine weeks, broken into three, three-week segments. But no entry fee increase.

Dates have been set: Oct. 7 through Dec. 10.

This timeframe boost widens the window of weigh-in opportunity, meaning more time/chances to win a daily, weekly, segment or grand prize.

Weigh-in times are based on open hours of participating shops. More on those inner details as the big event approaches.

As noted, I’m highly in favor of this extension. It’s ideal to maintain fun competitive surf fishing for as much of fall time as possible – before the big winter chill sets in.

This nine-week format also adds an extra weekend for those who can only fish days starting with “S.” To be sure, weekenders are a major part of the contest. In fact, when the Classic began in 1954, as the Striped Bass Derby, it was almost exclusively for visitors. I kid you not. In fact, locals couldn’t win the grand prizes. Outsiders only.

Per usual, the 2017 Classic will be all but weighed down with cash and prizes. Anyone can win something at any time. It’s an equal-opportunity affair.

Special effort is going into the 2017 Classic T-shirt, likely in Kelly green, admittedly a good bit Eagles-like. There might even be some special T-shirt prizes and giveaways. Stay tuned for that angle.

I’m bringing up this fall event now because there will be a push to get entrants to register early – and, hopefully, often, i.e. with spouses, kids, buddies … the whole gang shebang.

I’ll keep you posted one good.

SHARE TIME: So, I’m sauntering through the outback, pretty deeply in, when I come across what I refer to as hunters’ scat. Most often it’s spent shotgun shells, litterishly left where they were shaken out of the gun. In this case, though, it was two emptied aerosol cans of scent killing spray stuff. To deer, the spray renders a hunter as smelling like a human, only covered in scent-killing spray stuff. Ironically, the discarded cans are a green-based, woodland camo coloring, as if suggesting they simply be tossed into the surrounding vegetation, all-natural like.

But that bit of venting over woods littering is far from what I’m here to share.

As I picked up the cans of backwoods deodorizer, I had a highly smile-worthy Boomer flashback. In fact, any time I see spray deodorant, I loose a chuckle in symbolic tribute to some mighty fine younger days – in this case, focusing on a close friend who was insane … in that good, old-fashioned insane way.

Very recently, this same friend retired from his sky-high urban architecture job. He left his Ph’d-ish workaday world with more money than your modern presidential candidate. He’s now building dreamy castles in the sky down Costa Rica way, fishing his brains out; a sport he took up a little later in life, thanks fully to yours truly. Yes, that’s a subtle plug (pun intended), should he read this column and need some good-old angling companionship at his sprawling seaside plantation.

Actually, he does stay in touch and has kinda/sorta given me permission to pass on this share, which I’m getting to … in Mann time.

We’ll call this buddy Michael, for a dang good reason.

As a kid, he started smoking way early; cigarettes that is. What was it, Michael, when we were 8 or so?

This was insanely risky. His folks were straight-laced, church-abiding, teetotaler types. I won’t say they saw tobacco as a sin but they sure as hell wouldn’t allow that evil smoke to pass into the mouths of their kids, by God. The best laid plans of mice and parents.

By the by, Michael’s parents were absolutely wonderful people. His dad was the only person I’d ever meet who exclusively used “razzelfrats” as his prime cuss word. When we kids came by the house, you’d have thought royalty had arrived. This was a bit problematic. We’d sometimes shoot odds-and-evens to see who’d have to go inside to pick up Michael – and be forced to face an avalanche of snacks offered by Michael’s mom.

“No thank you, Mrs. C. … OK, maybe one Ritz cracker.”

“Oh, wait, let me get some peanut butter for that … and some jelly.”

Oh, geez. “Yes, Mrs. C.”

As rammy kids, eating was not big on our hightailing daily agenda.

Just hold on! I’m working toward the good part here.

So, for whatever reason, Michael takes to smoking ciggies. While the rest of us didn’t imbibe, we never gave his puffing a second thought. The habit was a thoroughly accepted thing back then. Michael was simply the sole smoker in our gang, though we all suffered residual fallout when passing parental types openly chastised him with the old “You’re too young to be smoking!” routine. Some folks would even slap the cigarette from him. Hey, back in those days you could correct a random kid without getting thrown in prison for mentally abusing a minor.

Now, for the good part – and the decisive verifier of this tale still looms large in Costa Rica. Michael would hide his smoke-mouth from his puritanical parents by spraying aerosol deodorant … directly into his mouth! Gospel truth. Ask him.

If memory serves me, he was partial to recently introduced Gillette’s Right Guard. He’d always have a can of the stuff with him.

Sure, we thought it was kinda weird, though we all felt compelled to at least try a quick shot of it, once – you know, in case we clandestinely smoked someday. An irony arose not that many years later when the covering up of smoke-breath morphed during the Sixties, though I never once heard of a single pot-smoker covering illegal puffing with spray deodorant to the mouth. Seems you were well outside the box, Michael.

By the by, I was given permission to tell this tale but only if I emphasized that, by college, Michael had fully forsaken smoking – of any sort. Who knows, it might have been raw Right Guard spray to the palette that eventually drove him forever away from nicotine, via a negative-reinforcement. For those of you still trying to kick the habit, I’m pretty sure aerosol Right Guard is still around.

RUNDOWN: The bluefish bite has been elusive – then it attacks; identical in temperament to the marauding lifestyle of the species.

e-Report: Jay, We fished for hours with nothing but one small bass then the blues moved in and our arms were hurting by the time they moved out and it went dead quiet again.

It seems the bluefish action will remain the big game in town for, hopefully, a couple/few more weeks to come.

Chunk bunker is best until the full-blown schools show, then it’s time to grab every battered bluefish-only plug in the bag.

Seasoned anglers know not to toss out valuable artificials when bluefish are frenzying about. The ugliest plugs work as well as beauties. I recall once having even the plating of a metal spoon scarred by bluefish teeth.

While steel leaders aren’t as popular as they once were, now is the time to break them out; 36-inchers aren’t out of line.

I’ve been asked by conservationally minded types – of which I’m proudly one – to remind fishing folks to only keep the bluefish you need, fillet-wise. Hey, you don’t feed the neighborhood at any other time of the year, why go all-magnanimous now … at the expense of the resource?

Also, I’ve repeatedly been asked by public works folks (Island and mainland) to remind anglers to place bluefish racks and entrails in heavy-duty garbage bags – and then soundly secure them inside lidded trashcans. I’m not sure why, but gulls go particularly gaga over the white garbage bags. What’s with that?

We’ve all seen the litter field created by gulls gone gonzo on unconstrained garbage bags, often curbside bags put out by folks heading back home for the week.

There can be municipal fines leveled if the street mess from gulled-apart bags is unsightly enough.

Striped bassing is fair, at best. Jigs or worms have worked in the surf, which is showing schoolies. Plugs are also getting some takers, especially just to our north. Bayside bassing has slowed a bit, though a keeper was caught, south end, off Holgate.


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