NEW HIV treatment possible with Bee Venom

A bee venom has been found to destroy the (HIV), while leaving surrounding cells unharmed. New research from Washington University’s school of medicine found that bee venom contains a called melittin that can poke holes in the envelope. The toxin is not only limited to HIV as melittin-loaded are effective in killing cancer tumor cells.

According to Dr Hood, the senior lead researcher Melittin on the fuses with the viral envelope. “The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus,” Hood said.

The advantage is that the containing melittin attack the essential part of the virus stucture, rather than the current class of anti- which merely prevent the virus from replicating. Some strains of the virus have mutated rendering an inhibitory class of anti-viral medication useless.

“We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV,” Hood says. “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.”

“The basic particle that we are using in these experiments was developed many years ago as an artificial ,” Hood says. “It didn’t work very well for delivering oxygen, but it circulates safely in the body and gives us a nice platform that we can adapt to fight different kinds of infections.”

Since melittin attacks double-layered membranes indiscriminately, this concept is not limited to HIV. Many viruses, including , rely on the same kind of and would be vulnerable to melittin-loaded .


Joshua L Hood, Andrew P Jallouk, Nancy Campbell, Lee Ratner, Samuel A . Cytolytic attenuate HIV-1 infectivity. , 2012; 18 (1): 95 DOI: 10.3851/IMP2346

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