Bee Venom Kills HIV: Nanoparticle Toxins Hold Amazing Power
New research finds that a toxin found in bee venom is effective in killing the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis discovered that the toxin melittin, found in bee venom, damages the protective layer that coats HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The new development could be instrumental in creating a vaginal gel that kills the virus.
“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,” Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, a research instructor in medicine at Washington University.
The venom is not only effective against HIV. Samuel A. Wickline, MD, the study’s senior author, found that nanoparticles carrying the melittin toxin are also capable of killing tumor cells.
The researchers designed the melittin carrying nanoparticles so that they would not harm normal, healthy cells, either. The team accomplished this by adding “bumpers” to the nanoparticle surface. Cells are much larger than the nanoparticle, so when they come into contact, the nanoparticles merely bounce off the cells. However, HIV is much smaller than both. This means that when the virus comes into contact with the nanoparticle, it fits between the bumpers, where it meets the bee toxin.
The toxin attacks the protective membrane that coats the virus. “Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope,” Hood said. “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,” Hood said. “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 method proved to be effective in killing the virus. Most anti-HIV treatments inhibit the virus’s ability to replicate, but this method does nothing to treat the initial infection. Melittin may be used for fighting other viruses as well. The toxin-loaded nanoparticles aren't harmful to sperm cells, either, meaning the treatment could be used for couples with one HIV partner trying to conceive.
“The basic particle that we are using in these experiments was developed many years ago as an artificial blood product,” Hood said. “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.”
‘Venom' Movie: The Alter Ego Of A Superhero
Arguably the greatest villain in Spider-man comic book history, Venom is now planning to take over the cinemas as well.
'Spider Man' Set To Hit Theaters This July; Sony Reveals Release Date For 'Venom'
Sony is currently developing the story of the "Spider-Man" spin-off, "Venom" which is set to be released on 2018. On the other hand, "Spider-Man: Homecoming" is expected to premiere this July.
HIV, The Next Target Of Trump Administration
As continuous efforts to eradicate HIV are taking place, why does the Trump administration wanted to halt the treatment that has been started by the previous government? What’s the truth behind claims that if the current US President would push this through, it will kill thousands? Find out what authorities have to say
How Do We Reduce HIV Risk? Here Are Experts' Tips
With the continuous efforts to eradicate one of the world's long dreaded disease, can we really do certain precautionary measures to prevent the risk of HIV? What are the necessary steps to prevent transmission of the disease? Find out what experts have to say
HIV Vaccine Cures Five Patients For Seven Months
New AIDS vaccine developed in Spain have reportedly cured 5 patients, helping them remain virus-free for seven months after taking the treatment. In the study, the treatment allowed the patients to stop taking regular antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to suppress HIV symptoms.
Nanotechnology For HIV: New Technique Shows Promising Results In HIV Treatment
With continuous efforts to eradicate HIV being one of the world's long dreaded disease, how essential does nanotechnology's role can be? What's the truth behind claims that this new technique offers a new hope as it has induced positive results in HIV treatment? Could it be the answer to the disease? Find out what experts have to say
MORE IN ITECHPOST
Pick A Flagship: LG G6 vs Galaxy S8 vs Xperia XZ Premium
Here are 2017's top three powerful flagships aiming to deliver excellent smartphone experience.
'Tokyo Ghoul' Season 3 Delayed By Its Live-Action Movie? Ken Kenaki Returns With Another Identity?
"Tokyo Ghoul" season 3's release is delayed and there are countless speculations as to why it is being pushed back. Reports claim that the show is to give way to "One Punch Man" and "My Hero Acdemia" but new rumors say that it's lack of materials and storyline as well as its live-action movie are causing the delay.
Xbox Games With Gold Announces Free Titles For June
It is about time for Gold subscribers to get wind of the Xbox Games with Gold that will be free next month. Here is a list of the free titles.
'Supernatural' Season 13: Mark Sheppard Not Returning As Series Regular; Castiel Returns For ‘Scooby-Doo’ Crossover?
"Supernatural" Season 13 will see the return of Castiel and an animated crossover with "Scooby-Doo". However, after the recent finale, Mark Sheppard will not be returning as series regular.