In a news release from Washington University in St.Louis, written by Julia Evangelou Strait, researchers have discovered that bee venom can be used to kill the HIV virus responsible for AIDS. The bee venom contains a potent toxin called melittin that is encapsulated with bumpers to protect normal cells. It has also been found to poke holes in the protective envelope of the HIV virus, killing the virus. It could also be used to prevent the spread of AIDS in couples who are trying to conceive and may be able to rid the blood of the HIV virus in AIDS patients. It theoretically will work on other viruses too, such as hepatitis B and C that rely on the same type of protective envelope. It has also been show to kill tumor cells. Clinical trials may be coming soon.
In another article in the San Francisco Chronicle by Shannon Pettypiece, an infant was effectively cured of AIDS by researchers at the University of Mississippi in Jackson, after being given a cocktail of virus blocking drugs starting shortly after birth and continuing for about 18 months. After no virus was detected 10 months after stopping the drug regiment, the infant was declared functionally cured of the disease. With approximately 300,000 children infected with the HIV virus each year this is a big step in stopping the onslaught of AIDS. Drug manufacturers Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson and Gilead Sciences are ramping up efforts to develop drugs that would flush the virus out of infected patients with some success. Maybe a cure is coming soon.