Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri said on Friday that bee venom could be used to deliver a fatal sting to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) following the results of a new study.
According to The Huffington Post, the study demonstrated that melittin, a toxin found in the venom, can help smaller particles penetrate the protective envelope around HIV, and subsequently destroy it.
“We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV,” said research instructor Dr. Joshua L. Hood, one of the study’s authors, in a release. “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 study by Hood and his team, published in the journal Antiviral Therapy on Thursday, said their findings indicate nanoparticles loaded with melittin have the potential to be used against HIV infections that have resisted treatment via medication, since they can be injected into a patient’s body intravenously.
University officials said the study also pointed toward the development of a vaginal gel that could stop the spread of HIV, the precursor to AIDS.
“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,” Hood said.
Watch Newsy Science’s report on the findings by Hood’s team, posted on Saturday, below.