A toxin called melittin found in bee venom can kill the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
This finding was developed and demonstrated by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The toxin melittin destroys HIV by poking holes in the envelope that surrounds the virus, according to a news release by Washington University.
Nanoparticles, with protective bumper added to their surface, and which are smaller than HIV were infused with the bee venom toxin, allowing it to bounce off normal cells and leave them intact. Normal cells are larger than HIV, so the nanoparticles target HIV, which is so small it fits between the bumpers, explains U.S. News & World Report.
Research instructor Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, said via the news release that melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope and forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus, adding, that we are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV. Theoretically, there isn’t any way for the virus to adapt to that. The virus has to have a protective coat, a double-layered membrane that covers the virus, he explained.
This breakthrough may lead to the manufacture of a vaginal gel to prevent the spread of HIV and, as an intravenous treatment to help those already infected. Researcher Hood said our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use this gel as a preventive measure to stop the initial infection.
The bee venom HIV study was published on Thursday in the journal Antiviral Therapy, according to U.S. News & World Report.
This study saw print just after the news that a Mississippi baby with HIV has apparently been cured.
34 million plus people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, according to amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. Of these, 3.3 million are under the age of 15 years old. About 7,000 people contract HIV daily around the globe.
To know more about this study, visit Washington University’s website here
Source: Bee Venom Kills HIV: …