Can Bee Venom Cure HIV?
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine claim that a toxin that is found in bee venom could destroy HIV but not harm surrounding healthy cells.
The results are an important step in creating a special vaginal gel that could prevent the spread of the potentially deadly virus.
"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," Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, a research instructor in medicine said.
According to the research, bee venom contains a "potent toxin called melittin that can poke holes in the protective envelope that surrounds HIV, and other viruses." The article goes on to say that the melittin does not harm normal cells because "protective bumpers" to the nanopartical surface, Hood added.
"When the nanoparticles come into contact with normal cells, which are much larger in size, the particles simply bounce off," the article reads. "HIV, on the other hand, is even smaller than the nanoparticle, so HIV fits between the bumpers and makes contact with the surface of the nanoparticle, where the bee toxin awaits."
"Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope," Hood said. "The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus."