AIDS/HIV | Medicine | Nature | News

Bee Venom Kills HIV: VIDEO

A toxin found in bee venom has been found to be successful in killing HIV, raising hopes for a gel that could deliver it to infected cels via nanoparticles.

Science Daily:

Stinger"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," says Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, a research instructor in medicine. The study appears in the current issue of Antiviral Therapy.

Bee venom contains a potent toxin called melittin that can poke holes in the protective envelope that surrounds HIV, and other viruses. Large amounts of free melittin can cause a lot of damage. Indeed, in addition to anti-viral therapy, the paper's senior author, Samuel A. Wickline, MD, the J. Russell Hornsby Professor of Biomedical Sciences, has shown melittin-loaded nanoparticles to be effective in killing tumor cells.

The new study shows that melittin loaded onto these nanoparticles does not harm normal cells. That's because Hood added protective bumpers to the nanoparticle surface. When the nanoparticles come into contact with normal cells, which are much larger in size, the particles simply bounce off. HIV, on the other hand, is even smaller than the nanoparticle, so HIV fits between the bumpers and makes contact with the surface of the nanoparticle, where the bee toxin awaits.

"Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope," Hood says. "The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus."

How does one collect bee venom?

A helpful video, AFTER THE JUMP...


Feed This post's comment feed


  1. This would be nothing less than astounding should this become an effective prevention against HIV infection. It makes one want to protect our natural world from the ongoing, rampant environmental destruction. What cures and treatments will we never know about because of the destruction, say, of the Amazon?

    Posted by: jamal49 | Mar 9, 2013 12:17:59 PM

  2. Anybody want a snort? :-)

    Posted by: Husky | Mar 9, 2013 1:14:21 PM

  3. @Husky: I'll take a bump off your @ss then f**k you bb?

    Posted by: stinkypitts | Mar 9, 2013 1:25:57 PM

  4. Many, many people are deathly allergic to bee venom. The last time I was stung, I nearly died in the emergency room.

    Posted by: Kevin Foster | Mar 9, 2013 1:30:56 PM

  5. Here's the biggest question, though: can melittin be produced in large enough scale, either through recombinance or chemical synthesis, to be deployed effectively as an antiviral?

    Posted by: Rich F. | Mar 9, 2013 2:47:55 PM

  6. There is already a cure for AIDS. It's called 'don't be promiscuous, don't have sex with strangers, and don't take drugs'. Try it - it's free.

    Posted by: jason | Mar 9, 2013 3:27:45 PM

  7. There is already a cure for AIDS. It's called 'don't be promiscuous, don't have sex with strangers, and don't take drugs'. Try it - it's free.

    Posted by: rise | Mar 9, 2013 3:36:54 PM

  8. Interesting & potentially awesome

    But being effective in a petri dish & lab conditions as vs in a human are 2 different things

    also the affects of nano particles in the long term is not known. Creating and studying nano particles is very new

    none the less, increase their funding and caffeine intake to keep them going on studying the possibility

    Posted by: Moz's | Mar 9, 2013 3:41:39 PM

  9. Where is Joshua Hood a Research Instructor in Medicine? Where is Samuel Wickline a Professor of Biomedical Sciences? Makes a difference!

    Posted by: andrew | Mar 9, 2013 3:49:52 PM

  10. Good to know Jason and Rise are the same troll. Go tell that to those infected through rape, or half of africa
    Then come back and tell us all about your exemplary lifestyle.

    Posted by: topher | Mar 9, 2013 4:15:58 PM

  11. Yes, this would be great! But we also have to keep our wonderful bees healthy as well! Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is still ongoing.

    Posted by: Rexford | Mar 9, 2013 5:18:01 PM

  12. Sounds expensive.

    Posted by: Jason R. | Mar 9, 2013 5:24:27 PM

  13. Topher,

    Don't blame me for the promiscuity in Africa.

    Posted by: rise | Mar 9, 2013 6:08:56 PM

  14. We've been down this road more than once before. 6 months from now it'll be horse p*ss.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 9, 2013 7:16:31 PM

  15. Blame me for being a puss-filled sore on the ass of this comment thread.

    God, I wish I could get laid.

    Posted by: RISE | Mar 9, 2013 8:13:00 PM

  16. @Kevin Foster: the toxin (melittin) is bound to nanoparticles whose structure includes "bumpers" that keep the melittin out of contact with cells, so it may be safe even if you are allergic to melittin.

    The "bumpers" are far enough apart, however, for HIV to easily reach the melittin. The nanonparticles by themselves are safe - they were ones tried previously in an artificial blood product intended to transport oxygen. They didn't work very well for that purpose (i.e., weren't useful for transporting oxygen) and are being tried for drug delivery.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 9, 2013 8:15:26 PM

  17. Christ on crutches, between the nay-sayers and the Debbie-Downers and the christers (RISE, I'm looking at you) this thread is just plain scary.

    Look, this could turn out to be just another great idea in the lab which doesn't work in the wild.
    Or, it could be one of the very few real virus killers.

    Let's fund this and hope for the latter.

    Gods, what the hell is wrong with some people?

    Posted by: enough already | Mar 9, 2013 8:35:48 PM

  18. Enough Already: Hear, Hear!

    I really wish Andy Towle liked his readers enough to institute a more sophisticated comment system.

    Posted by: RISE | Mar 9, 2013 8:44:54 PM

  19. @enough already: what some people don't understand is drug development is still very much trial and error. Only a fraction of what does something useful in initial laboratory experiments will turn out to be useful for treating people. Even the complete failures are useful to the extent that they tell us what not to try. So, every result that sounds promising is good news - it means we have another throw of the dice that may give us a winner if we are lucky.

    The real problem is the press - reporters tend to make a promising research result sound like it will almost certainly lead to a cure, and people get disappointed when that doesn't happen.

    It's like a story I heard from a guy who was trying to make high temperature superconductors. On his second day in the lab as a graduate student, he got a major adrenaline rush as the voltage cross a metal conductor dropped to zero according to his voltmeter. He thought he had been lucky enough to make an important discovery almost immediately. Then he found that a wire had broken so the voltmeter wasn't connected to anything! After lots of experience, when he saw the voltage drop to zero, his first thought became, "the wire broke again."

    So, in this case we have a nice initial result. But don't get overly excited until a lot more work gets done.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 9, 2013 9:29:22 PM

  20. Will bee venom kill Elizabeth Hasslebeck?

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 9, 2013 10:13:30 PM

  21. @bill

    agree with you on the effect of the press, sometimes, but, i'd say, better publish something than to for us to be kept in the dark.

    though it's true that the discoveries are too early, i think the real message here is hope. remember that finding an aids cure is a dire issue.

    also, we should be watchful enough to track down every possible development for a cure.

    Posted by: simplet0n | Mar 9, 2013 11:13:54 PM

  22. please help me to thank DR.SAMBOLA for removing HIV sickness in my life,am from Senegal and i have been sick HIV for 9years and i have been visiting hospital for medical check up all to know are vain .it got to a point it got to a point where by i started visiting herbalist for herbs yet the sickness was still distorying my body system there was no changes.i all way share tears from morning till night cos there was no trace of what cause the sickness,medical doctors was unable to detect any thing that was wrong with me and herbalist still try on their own but nothing to write home about.the sickness grow to a stage that i was unable to stand-up on my own except the support of any member of my family and dearth refused to take me away from this painful day my either sister who live in united state of America (USA)came with an email and phone number of DR.SAMBOLA that the man have spiritual power that he different problems like this and the one that is even worst than this and i never believed my sister email DR.SAMBOLA about the problem.and DR.SAMBOLA said there is no problem that all we need to do is to perform some sacrifice and cast negative spell off him in his shrine yet i never believed DR.clifford so after performing all the sacrifice DR.SAMBOLA told my sister in 7days time i am going to be heal from this sickness that he has cast out negative spell off me and he has pay 7 sacrifice in seven junction.did you believed that on the 4th day i stand-up on my own to walk without the support of anybody ,before the 7th days i regain all my power in fact i was physically fit.please help me to thank DR.SAMBOLA for removing sickness in my life please if you want to contact him here is the email once again thank you DR.SAMBOLA .EMAIL also kinds of sickness he can help you to cure it okay

    Posted by: stephan | Oct 9, 2013 6:16:15 PM

Post a comment


« «Elisabeth Hasselbeck's Right-Wing Chatter Got Her Canned from 'The View': Report« «