Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis completed a study showing that bee venom can kill the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). The study found that the toxin in bee venom ‘melittin’ destroys HIV by poking holes in the viral envelope surrounding the virus.
Researchers infused nanoparticles (that were smaller than the HIV virus) with the bee venom toxin along with a protective bumper on the nanoparticles’ surface, which allowed it to ‘bounce’ off normal cells leaving them intact. The bee venom destroys the virus by poking holes in the envelope surface surrounding the virus, according Washington University’s news release.
“We’re attacking an inherent property of HIV,” said research instructor Joshua L. Hood. “The Melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off of the virus. The virus has to have a protective coat, a double layered membrane that covers the virus.”
This discovery can lead to a vaginal gel to prevent the spread of HIV and possibly an intravenous treatment to those already infected. Seemingly medical advances are being made to combat the virus that’s affected the lives of millions. The bee venom study comes after another discovery was made when a mother gave birth to an infant infected with the HIV virus. A three-drug treatment regimen approved by the Food and Drug Administration for infants was given to the baby just 30 hours after birth, before tests confirmed the infant was infected. The child, who's name was kept anonymous is now 2 years old and shows no sign of infection. The child, born in Mississippi has been off medication for about a years.
This and other studies has lead to many thinking what else could be out there? (Oh so close).
Sources: U.S. News & World Report; Huffington Post