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Study Finds that Nanoparticles Loaded with Bee Venom Can Kill HIV
Posted By Mark Boyer On March 11, 2013 @ 5:19 pm In Design for Health,News | 1 Comment
Photo via Shutterstock 
A cure for HIV  has eluded scientists since the virus was first discovered in the early 1980s, but researchers at Washington University believe that bee venom  could provide a successful treatment. The venom that bees carry contains a toxin called melittin  that can penetrate the protective envelope surrounding HIV. The team used nanoparticles carrying melittin to successfully destroy HIV without harming nearby cells, which represents a potentially huge breakthrough in the ongoing effort to find a cure.
Photo via Shutterstock 
Melittin is a powerful toxin, and large amounts of free melittin can be very harmful to humans, but the key is combining that toxin with nanoparticles . The Washington University  researchers discovered that when melittin is loaded onto nanoparticules it doesn’t harm normal surrounding cells. The researchers added “protective bumpers” to the nanoparticle surface, which simply bounce away from normal cells, which are larger. HIV, meanwhile, is even smaller than nanoparticles, making it easier for the melittin to attack the virus’ structure.
“We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV,” Joshua L. Hood, a lead author of the study, told the Washington University newsroom . “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.” With the discovery that bee venom  can kill HIV without harming the carrier, researchers will continue to work on developing a vaginal gel that could prevent the spread of HIV. But bee venom’s healing potential might not be limited to HIV; other illnesses like hepatitis B and C could also be cured by this technique, according to the researchers.
via Huffington Post 
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URLs in this post:
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/study-finds-that-nanoparticles-loaded-with-bee-venom-can-kill-hiv/bee-closeup/
 Shutterstock: http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=bee+stinger&search_group=#id=17048485&src=5807ED84-8A60-11E2-B98D-E6F69DA4A24C-1-19
 HIV: http://inhabitat.com/tag/hiv/
 bee venom: http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/25061.aspx
 melittin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melittin
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/study-finds-that-nanoparticles-loaded-with-bee-venom-can-kill-hiv/hiv-rendering/
 Shutterstock: http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=hiv+virus&search_group=#id=128569904&src=83E34D5E-8A60-11E2-B22F-EEBFACE6966E-1-2
 nanoparticles: http://inhabitat.com/tag/nanoparticles
 Washington University: http://inhabitat.com/design-for-health
 bee venom: http://inhabitat.com/tag/bees
 Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/09/bee-venom-kills-hiv-cells_n_2843743.html
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