Research reports covered in the March 2013 issue of Antiviral Therapy indicate that nanoparticles containing the bee venom toxin called melittin are capable of destroying the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Additionally, the toxin leaves the surrounding cells of the sufferer unharmed. These findings result from the work of scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine. As a result of the findings, researchers state that the results constitute a major step towards the development of a vaginal gel that can prevent HIV from spreading.
Individuals who want to understand how bee venom kills HIV should note that the melittin from the venom can poke holes in the viral envelope surrounding the human immunodeficiency virus. When used in large enough quantities, melittin could do formidable damage to HIV.
In addition to exploring how the bee venom capable of killing HIV can be used as a vaginal gel to prevent HIV infections from spreading, research instructor Joshua L. Hood also believes that the bee venom can be used as a therapy for existing HIV infections. Theoretically, injecting the bee venom nanoparticles into a patient’s bloodstream could facilitate a process in which his or her blood is cleared of HIV.
While many scientists now know that bee venom kills HIV, this is not the only debilitating disease that the melittin can fight. Since melittin can attack double-layered membranes, it could possibly function as an effective mechanism to fight hepatitis B and C viruses. This is the case since these viruses rely on the same sort of protective envelope as HIV.
In light of the fact that HIV is a very serious condition to grapple with, the research showing that bee venom is capable of killing the disease is very important. Recent research on HIV has shown that scientists have begun making improvements in HIV/AIDS prevention strategies and treatments. At this point, a baby has been “functionally cured” of the HIV infection. Indeed, researchers from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found that a baby that was administered antiretroviral therapy thirty hours prior to birth was “functionally cured.” (The phrase “functional cure” references there being no discernible viral replication once retroviral therapy has ceased.)
In addition to noting HIV replication prevention in the form of “functional cures,” research has demonstrated that HIV antiretroviral treatments have been an effective investment. Indeed, investigators from Harvard University found that using these treatments in a remote region of South Africa called KwaZulu-Natal resulted in a 96% reduced risk of HIV transmission via sexual partners.
In considering the profoundly negative impact that HIV can have on individuals and the societies in which they live, the research findings regarding bee venom and its efficacy in killing HIV are very significant. By learning more about how bee venom can kill HIV, humans are likely to begin living in a much healthier world.