There are more than 34 million people in the world living with the HIV, with more than 3 million people under the age of 15 contracting the virus. Studies that have been done over the past few years were focused on the improvement of HIV/AIDS treatment and other preventive strategies.
A study has made the headlines over the past few months – bee venom can kill HIV or the human immunodeficiency virus. Recent research done by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found and demonstrated a toxin called Melittin that’s found in bee venom that can destroy the HIV virus by poking holes in the envelope around the virus, according to a press release from Washington University.
The toxin is an active component of bee venom and is carried out by nanoparticles that are able to destroy unhealthy cells and tumours caused by viruses like the HIV. What’s surprising here is that the toxin does no harm to healthy cells.
Despite the on-going research of various treatment options, the debate still goes on as to whether or not AIDS is caused or not caused by HIV. Even if it doesn’t cause AIDS, it’s still not a good thing to have around in our body. According to Dr. Kary Mullis, a Biochemist and winner of the 1993 Noble Prize for Chemistry, “If there is evidence that HIV causes AIDS, there should be scientific documents which either singly or collectively demonstrate that fact, at least with a high probability. There is no such document.”
Research instructor Joshua L. Hood, MD, PHD, said via press release “Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope. The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus. 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.”
This discovery will lead to the creation of a vaginal gel that would help prevent the spread of HIV or to an intravenous treatment for those that are infected with the virus. 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.”