Bee venom shown to kill HIV, scientists reveal

A chemical in the insect's toxin could be used to destroy HIV cells while leaving the surrounding cells unharmed

Bee venom shown to kill HIV, scientists reveal
08 March 2013

Bee venom could be the key to preventing HIV, scientists have found in a new study.

In a study in the current issue of Antiviral Therapy, it shows a chemical in the insect’s venom can destroy the virus while leaving surrounding cells unharmed.

A potent toxin in bee stings called melittin kills HIV cells by punching holes through their protective outer layer.

It is now being hailed as an important step towards developing a gel that could stem the spread of HIV.

Dr Joshua L. Hood, who took part in the study at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, said the bee toxin could be used in a vagina gel to prevent from spreading.

He said: ‘Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use this gel as a preventative measure to stop the initial infection.’

While most anti-HIV drugs inhibit the virus’s ability to replicate, bee toxin actually attacks the virus’s structure and prevents infection.

Hood added: ‘We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV.

‘Theoretically, there isn’t any way for the virus to adapt to that.’

Beyond prevention in the form of a vaginal gel, Hood also sees potential for using the nanoparticles with melittin as therapy for existing HIV infections, especially in those that are drug-resistant.

The nanoparticles could be injected intravenously, and, in theory, would be able to clear HIV from the blood stream.

Doctors also suggested melitten therapy could also be an effective way to kill tumour cells.

On 3 March, it was revealed a baby in Mississippi had apparently been ‘cured’ of HIV.

Earlier this year, Australian scientists say they believe they have discovered how to modify a protein in HIV, so instead of replicating, it protects against the infection.

Lead professor David Harrich said while it could not cure HIV, the modified protein had protected human cells from AIDS in laboratory tests.

In October last year, scientists found two South African woman who were able to create antibodies that killed 88 known strains of HIV. This has given scientists hope there could be a possible vaccine for the virus.

At the end of 2010, it was estimated 34 million people are living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.



No thumbnail available

Sandra Bernhard officiates gay wedding ceremony

Lesbian comic said she was so 'inspired' after hosting the event for the New York gay power couple
No thumbnail available

What happened at the Sydney Mardi Gras Harbor Party?

Thousands partied at the event including Jake Shears from Scissor Sisters, Keisza and Samantha Jade
George Michael blasts crack cocaine claims

George Michael blasts crack cocaine claims

Although it's been confirmed that he has recently visited a treatment facility in in Switzerland, the singer took to Twitter to deny a relative’s allegations about his drug use
No thumbnail available

US Secretary of State speaks at UN's LGBT ministerial event

A number of countries released a declaration against anti-LGBT violence and discrimination during the United Nations General Assembly
No thumbnail available

Supreme Court halts gay marriages in Utah

As more than 900 couples have married in the US state since the ban on same-sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional, they will all be waiting to see whether these unions will become void
No thumbnail available

Tom Daley celebrates two years with Dustin Lance Black in the cutest way possible

'Two years ago I met my Dustin and my life changed forever!'
No thumbnail available

TV drama to look at US ban on 'biological donations' from gay men

Sunday's episode of Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva tells story of man arrested for donating sperm
No thumbnail available

See video of Matt Bomer's deleted stripper scene from Magic Mike

Much of the out star's solo dancing didn't make final cut of summer hit
No thumbnail available

Celebrating the diversity that makes Britain great

The UK’s National Diversity Awards is now taking nominations for 2013. Founder Paul Sesay explains the difference the first year of the awards has made
No thumbnail available

Meet the daughter of two lesbians who's campaigning against same-sex marriage

After being raised by her mom and mom's partner, the former LGBTI rights activist has 'come out' against same-sex marriage