Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis believe they've uncovered a vital step in developing a vaginal gel that may prevent the spread of HIV, which causes AIDS.
Nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), while leaving surrounding cells unharmed. Their hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use the gel as a preventive measure to stop the initial infection.
Nanoparticles carrying melittin, the toxin in bee venom, fuse with HIV and destroy its protective cover. Meanwhile, molecular bumpers prevent the nanoparticles from harming the body's normal cells. Melittin pokes holes in the protective envelope that surrounds HIV, and other viruses, and can cause a lot of damage in large amounts…