STUDY: Bee Venom Shown To Kill HIV

beeA study in the current issue of Antiviral Therapy reports that nanoparticles loaded with a toxin found in bee venom can destroy HIV while leaving nearby normal cells unharmed.

The toxin, melittin, can pierce the protective shell of HIV and other viruses like hepatitis B and C—and has been shown to be effective against tumor cells, as well.  Scientists say it could be used to develop a vaginal gel that prevents the spread of HIV.

“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,” says Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

According to Science Daily:

An advantage of this approach is that the nanoparticle attacks an essential part of the virus’ structure. In contrast, most anti-HIV drugs inhibit the virus’s ability to replicate. But this anti-replication strategy does nothing to stop initial infection, and some strains of the virus have found ways around these drugs and reproduce anyway.

“Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope,” Hood says. “The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus.”

Melittin therapy could also be used to treat existing HIV infections, particularly ones that are drug-resistant.

Photo: csernamez


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  • Aidan8

    Wow, this sounds like it has huge potential. Would be kinda cool if an ultimate cure for HIV (and Hep C, et al) came from our small flying friends.

  • Truth Addict

    “Scientists say it could be used to develop a vaginal gel that prevents the
    spread of HIV”

    Great news, but what if a vagina is not involved in your contact with the virus?

  • jerbear

    I’m sure they’d make a gel for anal sex. The market would dictate that the monetary potential among gay men would be huge! They’d be fools to leave us out of that market.

  • redcarpet

    Assuming the bees don’t all die off.

  • Cam

    @Truth Addict:

    My guess is that they would NEVER market an anal gel, but that doctors would have to quietly tell people to try to use it for that.

  • Billysees

    @Aidan8: 1

    It is cool.

    Science and medicine, including our little flying friends of course, are full of hopeful things for everybody and they’re just waiting to be discovered.

  • Charlie in Charge

    @redcarpet: I was thinking the same thing. Hopefully this will lead to people caring more about bee deaths. We should anyway with the impact bees have on the pollenation of plants we rely on.

  • rcs831

    Einstein once said that if all the bee’s were to disappear humans would only have 4 years left on earth.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    NOM will start a bee killing program now. You know, to protect the sanctity of marriage, right?

  • Urban

    Great news!
    I hope it will reach the market faster than 10-15 years as it might take.

    Bee venom is not a new thing when it comes to treat and cure different medical conditions, so I think it got great potential to really cure HIV in the future.

    Read more here about research and studies of bee venom:

  • Billysees

    @Urban: 10

    Interesting “read more here” website.

    I think that science is in its “warming up” phase to create and produce some really great things for us humans.

Comments are closed.