Can honey bee sting venom be possibly be the answer to the dreadful disease AIDS (caused by HIV) faced by mankind? A recent research carried out in Washington University at St.Louis it was found that, nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy HIV. The surrounding cells (human cells) seem to remain unaffected by this nanoparticle – toxin combination.
A lot of research has been carried out on bee sting venom for arthritis and multiple sclerosis but this research is really a breakthrough in tackling HIV. This primary use of this finding will be more on prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. A vaginal gel can be made which will kill HIV as soon as it comes in contact with it.
The bee venom contains a potent toxin called “melittin” which is loaded on the nanoparticles along with protective bumpers. The melittin when comes in contact with HIV they break the protective membrane of the virus which is an important step to initiate killing of the virus. The bumpers provide a good protection to the surrounding human cells as they make the nanoparticle – toxin combination to bounce off the human cells as the human cells are larger in size. HIV is much smaller that the nanoparticle – toxin complex and thus it fits between the space of bumpers and nanoparticle where the toxin melittin fuses with the surface of HIV and ruptures the envelope.
According to Dr.Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, who co-authored this research, most anti-HIV drugs stop the replication of the virus and they do anything to stop the initial infection and some strains of the virus always find a way around these drugs and start replicating again.This new study targets the inherent physical property of the HIV and theoretically there isn’t any way for the virus to adapt to that. This research can also be aimed at other viruses that cause Hepatitis B and C as these viruses also share the same kind of protective envelope. This research can be a boon to couples where one of the partners is HIV infected and they want to have a baby.
The use of bee venom to kill HIV is great scientific breakthrough and we hope that this technology will see the light in the form of a product in the near future.