Bee venom component might offer HIV protection | Science News


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Bee venom component might offer HIV protection

Delivering toxin in nanoparticles stops virus in lab study

10:02am, March 15, 2013

A component of bee venom packaged in super-tiny blobs can knock out HIV, a new study finds. Researchers testing the delivery system in lab dishes report that these nanoparticles attach to and destroy the virus without damaging cells, offering an early glimpse of a technology that might — with a lot more testing — prevent HIV infection in some people.

“This is definitely a novel approach,” says Antony Gomes, a physiologist at the University of Calcutta in India, who studies the medical use of venoms. “There are very few reports available on venom-based treatment against viruses. This type of research has the potential to proceed further for product development.”

Physician-researcher Joshua Hood of Washington University in St. Louis and his colleagues tested the toxin-carrying nanoparticles on HIV in the lab. The particles preferentially locked onto HIV and delivered their cargo: The venom component, a toxin called melittin, poked

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