Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis recently conducted a study, revealing that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be killed with bee venom. A toxin called melittin found in the venom was inserted in the envelope surrounding the virus by poking holes, which was found to be successful in killing the virus.
Research instructor Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, explained the process, "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." Adding, "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."
The revelation has sparked the development of a vaginal gel which will aim to prevent the spread of the disease, as well as providing intravenous treatment to those already infected.