Sure, bees are super important for our survival already but this makes them even more important. Who knew bees could help to cure AIDS?
Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have actually found that by poking holes in the protective envelope surrounding HIV and other viruses, a toxin found in bee venom known as melittin is able to kill the virus and does the body no harm! This is a breakthrough considering that almost 40 million people were already living with this virus just a few years ago and that number is steadily increasing. These findings could lead to drugs that cause HIV resistance, possible treatment and help with preventing the spread altogether.
In their laboratory tests these researchers fused melittin to nanoparticles that are smaller than HIV, these bounced off of normal cells but ruptured and killed the HIV. This thrilling anti-viral therapy attacks an important part of the virus’ structure and has great potential. It could be the cure we have been looking for.
Dr. Joshua Hood, a research instructor in medicine at Washington University made the following statements:
“Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use the vaginal gel as a preventive measure to stop the initial infection… We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV. 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.”
“The basic particle that we are using in these experiments was developed many years ago as an artificial blood product. 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.”
“We also are looking at this [therapy] for couples where only one of the partners has HIV, and they want to have a baby. These particles by themselves are actually very safe for sperm, for the same reason they are safe for vaginal cells.”
This study was published in the journal Antiviral Therapy in 2013 and came shortly after reports from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, as well as the University of Massachusetts Medical School, reported that a Mississippi baby who was HIV positive had been cured. This happened after he received antiretroviral therapy within 30 hours of birth. Isn’t that just amazing?
So on top of pollinating myriad forms of our food and almost all of the wild plants, producing delicious honey, and helping us thrive bees could also potentially cure one of the most serious issues we have been facing for years. Bees are just all around amazing. For more information on this check out the video below.