Nanoparticles containing bee venom toxin melittin can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while at the same time leaving surrounding cells unharmed, scientists from Washington University School of Medicine reported in the March 2013 issue of Antiviral Therapy.
The researchers said that their finding is a major step toward creating a vaginal gel that can prevent HIV spread. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, a research instructor in medicine, said:
"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."
Melittin destroys some viruses and malignant tumor cells
Melittin is a powerful toxin found in bee venom. It can poke holes in the protective viral envelope that surrounds the human immunodeficiency virus, as well as other viruses. Free melittin in large-enough quantities can cause considerable damage.
Normal cells remain intact - the scientists showed that nanoparticles loaded with melittin do not harm normal, healthy cells. Protective bumpers were added to the nanoparticles surface, so that when they come into contact with normal cells (which tend to be much larger), the nanoparticles bounce off rather than attach themselves.
Scientists have discovered a powerful toxin in bee venom that could end up playing a crucial role in preventing the spread of HIV.
HIV is much smaller than the nanoparticles and fits in between the bumpers. When HIV comes across a nanoparticle it goes in between the bumpers and comes into direct contact with its surface, which is coated with the bee toxin, which destroys it.
Hood explained "Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope. The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus."
While most anti-HIV medications work on inhibiting the virus' ability to replicate, this one attacks a vital part of its structure. The problem with attacking a pathogen's ability to replicate is that it does not stop it from starting an infection. Some HIV strains have found ways to circumvent replication-inhibiting drugs, and reproduce regardless.
"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."
Melittin nanoparticles may prevent and treat existing HIV infections
Hood believes that the melittin-loaded nanoparticles have the potential for two types of therapies:
A vaginal gel to prevent the spread of HIV infection
Therapy for existing HIV infections, particularly drug-resistant ones
In theory, if the nanoparticles were injected into the patient's bloodstream, they should be able to clear the blood of HIV.
Hood said "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."
Melittin attacks double-layered membranes indiscriminately, making it a potential for drug therapies beyond HIV infections. The hepatitis B and C viruses, among several others, rely on the same type of protective envelope and could be targeted and destroyed by administering melittin-loaded nanoparticles.
The gel also has the potential to target sperm, the researchers explained, making it a possible contraceptive medication. The study, however, did not look at contraception.
Hood said "We also are looking at this 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 carried out in cells in a laboratory environment. However, the nanoparticles are easy to produce - enough of them could easily be supplied for future human studies.
Recent research on HIV
Over the last few years, scientists have made strides in improving HIV/AIDS treatments and prevention strategies.
HIV hides out inside a CD4 cell to duplicate it's self. How the bee venom going to get to the HIV cells that's hiding out in the immune system? And would the bee venom work on patients with full blown AIDS? I'm going to keep the bee venom in prayer that it becomes available worldwide against HIV/AIDS.
Everyone is allergic to bee venom. Just because you swell is not an indication you will die. Most people swell. If you have a systemic reaction to bee venom, that is a different story - you need to carry injectable adrenaline. I have developed an immunity of sorts through keeping bees for about 30 years and being stung a few thousand times. I don't swell, but the stings still hurt a bit, like a bee sting.
DevilinDetail - what you describe is in your post is a basic principle of pharmaceutical science. What you describe is also a shared reality of all medications and treatments. While a drug may have a direct benefit in targetting a particular part of the body it also carries unintended consequences. We call these consequences side-effects and often-times can be as debilitating as the condition they are trying to treat. While i could never claim to the skill of creating a mellitin-coated nanoparticle with bumpers (this in itself is pretty amazxing) pharmaceutical medicine (and even our prescribing physicians) from an ethical and philosophical perspective i believe does not always thoroughly consider the cons as compared to the pros in the benefit of developing a drug.
I have hiv medications as a person living with hiv i am very grateful for
but i am also allergic to bee stings - and given the obviousness of allergies - i would expect a little more rigour on the potential consequnces of allergies with respect to potential life-threatening side-effects, from the researchers. We are to assume that the bumpers are addressing this. But it would seem from the article that any tests being conducted are in vitro and as such it is still too early to be presenting in the press on novel agents when there are no in vivo results or clinical human trials. Much that works in a culture fails - as has been rightly observed by posters - in the complex system of an animal.
posted by Nuvor Manasseh Kwaku. on 18 Mar 2013 at 11:30 am
This is good news, however, it is my hope that further investigation will be conducted in order to curb this deadly diseases. We should also provide enough security for the environment, so that we can have plenty bees for bee venom that destroys HIV and spares surrounding cells.
1) The original article stated that the nano-particles were developed for oxygen as a blood substitute that did not work out. So these particle were developed not to react to cell tissues.
2) "Melittin attacks double-layered membranes indiscriminately"... The nano-particle has to first attach to the cell before the melittin can be effective. This would be safe since the nano-particles cannot attached normal cells "the scientists showed that nano-particles loaded with melittin do not harm normal, healthy cells. Protective bumpers were added to the nano-particles surface, so that when they come into contact with normal cells (which tend to be much larger), the nano-particles bounce off rather than attach themselves"
posted by Karen Lorentzson on 12 Mar 2013 at 9:24 am
Now if monsanto would quit killing bees with pesticides and gmo seed as well as all those phone towers, one has to question this madness when indeed many have known about the healing quality of bees, wasp, and even alligators slime! The Creator gave us all we needed to heal one another but monsanto seems to be creating death, killer seed, endless lawsuits, viral weeds and all with taxpayers money why do we support this and not saving our dying bees??? sign petitions to save bees!
"Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice" -- then let's get some informed medical advice. Since it has long been established that the cause of AIDS was viruses in the polio vaccine, AND, since it has been established that HIV is a segment of genetic material most common to African blacks; that it is NOT the AIDS causing virus, then exactly what are they curing by killing the genetic sequence?
Arguably the most exciting breakthrough in cancer research of the past 2 decades was antiangiogenesis therapy. But the advent of antiangiogenesis therapy was delayed for at least a half century by the FDA. They made thalidomide the poster drug justifying their existance, and consequently squelched decades of scienrtific enquiry. Does this news mean that the FDA will now attempt to usurp jurisdiction over my apiaries? Or worse yet, will ObamaCare bureaucrats now try and tax my bee hives as medical devices?
Recent break through in HIV researches begets new hope.
posted by Kareem Karassery on 10 Mar 2013 at 7:37 am
Recent success of researches in HIV treatment begets definitely a good hope.Functional cure of a Mississippian boy with 30 hour antiretroviral treatment was the brightening news in last week.Now the finding of the new possibilities using venom of bee in the treatment of HIV is brought another breakthrough in this week.We can support all the effort for a final cure of this fatal disease. Kareem Karassery Gen.convener, Blood Patients Protection Council
Bee man - I miss bee keeping ever since we moved to US
posted by Max on 10 Mar 2013 at 7:23 am
I come from the family of beekeepers dating back 4 generations and Austrio-Hungarian empire. I always remember my grandgrandma saying that bee sting is like a cure. She died at 104. My gradgrandfather was allergic to bee sting and died at 66. I guess people were very observant back then and knew how to connect the dots. I remember times during the harvest I got stung 50+times a day. I miss bee keeping ever since we moved to US.
Bees: their honey for destroying various bacterias and treat severe wounds/ulcers,that couldn't be treated by highly potent antibiotics.Now their venom becomes cure for the devil virus(HIV),which destroys millions' life of our beloveds,but the human mind can not find a solution for it for last three decades.Having in mind we humans are creating a sophisticated technologies including; cloning,HARP technology,and other space sciences,However only bees venom become the only solution for HIV yet.
By appreciating the scientists who discovers this recent good news,we all human beings,especially the developed countries,should create a conducive environments for bees,not to repeat the same mistakes as we done before(extinction of various plants by deforestation and effect of global warming, which could be useful for various diseases).
In short let's make an environmental friendly universe and conserve the plants and insects,since they will be our solution during we face serious challenges,like Bees done to HIV now.
I see two things that are selected for by this nanoparticle concoction:
1. "attacks double-layered membranes indiscriminately" 2. "when they come into contact with normal cells (which tend to be much larger), the nanoparticles bounce off rather than attach themselves"
That is, it attacks anything with a lipid bi-layer membrane that is much smaller than a "normal cell". And the article also implies that sperm is small enough to be attacked.
Seems to me there are probably a lot of things floating around in the human body that might get attacked given these criteria, based on the rule of thumb that there's a whole lot of variability in a very complex system. How certain are we that there's NOTHING in the human body that is:
1. beneficial or even essential for overall system health 2. as small as sperm 3. has a double-layered membrane
My naive expectation is that would be difficult to establish.
We should know that natural resources can cure most of virus attacking human system. However, we always pay for the prize because envy to go beyond natural medicines which have created by God. Go back to history and find out how people use to live well before all these scientific technology, and then some of us will be surprised. In fact, the finding is not surprised at all.
Bee venom? what is that? bees are venomous...? I thought only if one had a bee allergy ...this article raises more questions than it answers...oh well I will have do my own research on this one. I know bee propolis not to beconfused with bee pollen has a load of healing properties and boast the immune system.
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