Research done at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that nanoparticles carrying melittin, found in bee venom, can kill the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
According to research instructor Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, “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. 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.”
While there are many ways to kill the virus, the majority also destroy normal cells. With melittin, a “protective bumper” was put onto the nanoparticles so that they would “bounce off normal cells.” This process only attacks the virus.