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AIDS cure? Bee venom found to kill HIV

A toxin called melittin found in bee venom can destroy HIV by poking holes in the envelope surrounding the virus, according to a news release sent out by Washington University School of Medicine.

“Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope,” says research instructor Joshua L. Hood, MD, Ph.D., via the news release. “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,” says Hood. “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.”

Researchers believe the anti-microbial properties of the bee venom means that it could be effective in treating other diseases that have protective envelopes, including hepatitis B and C.

The Washington University School of Medicine news release can be found here.