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“Bee venom contains a potent toxin called melittin that can poke holes in the protective envelope that surrounds HIV, and other viruses. Large amounts of free melittin can cause a lot of damage. Indeed, in addition to anti-viral therapy, the paper’s senior author, Samuel A. Wickline, MD, the J. Russell Hornsby Professor of Biomedical Sciences, has shown melittin-loaded nanoparticles to be effective in killing tumor cells. The new study shows that melittin loaded onto these nanoparticles does not harm normal cells. That’s because Hood added protective bumpers to the nanoparticle surface. When the nanoparticles come into contact with normal cells, which are much larger in size, the particles simply bounce off. HIV, on the other hand, is even smaller than the nanoparticle, so HIV fits between the bumpers and makes contact with the surface of the nanoparticle, where the bee toxin awaits.”—
If this study holds a lot of scientific weight, that’s fucking amazing. Nanoparticles have been showing nothing but great promises for the field of virology it seems.
The media is only perpetuating ignorance and inciting false hope by blowing up with articles and stories regarding the first person being “cured” of HIV.
Here are the facts:
- The person in question is a toddler. A baby girl. She was infected by her HIV-positive mother, who didn’t receive the proper, recommended care for her condition during gestation.
- She wasn’t cured. She was functionally cured. And that, in itself, was a medical fluke — not a marvel. More on that below.
- She was administered a highly concentrated cocktail of three antiretroviral drugs within her first 30 hours outside of the womb. Before the HIV lab test results even came back.
- Two tests were done an hour apart from each other shortly after birth, and the baby was positive, but with a fairly low reading of 20,000 copies per milliliter (c/mL) of HIV RNA. But the fact that she tested positive so early in life was indicative of the time of her infection: likely to have been in the womb, rather than during delivery.
- Her atypical treatment regimen was prescribed in an effort to suppress the virus before it progressed to tissue/cells colloquially referred to as viral reservoirs…anatomical areas where latent viral infections are at the peak of their persistence.
- 2.5 years later, the anonymous baby girl tested HIV “negative” — due the fact that her viral traces are so low, they can’t be picked up by standard clinical tests. She’s been off treatment for over eight months. This is the definition of a functional cure.
- Researchers as well as the virologist who treated her made it a point to stress that her current state is largely attributed to the intensity and the timing of the treatment — in absence of prophylactic measures.
- This is the second reported case of an HIV “cure.” In 2007 a man famously known as the “Berlin patient,” Mr. Timothy Brown garnered the media’s attention. He was battling both Leukemia and HIV, when he received a bone marrow transplant to treat the latter. The bone marrow he received was from a person with an HIV-resistent mutation, one only found in 1% of the caucasian population. And thus, he is now HIV-free.
What does this all mean? There still isn’t a medical cure for HIV. And that girl, as well as Mr. Brown are no more than fortunate and blessed.
For everybody who reblogs this I will write your url....
On this traditional Ghanaian fabric and drive with it to our HIV outreach in Ghana, West Africa.
I am tumblr user watsonyrmind and I’m currently in Ghana with the Sankofa Center, a sex positive HIV organization that uses harm reduction practices to educate about HIV in schools and villages. They also provide free HIV testing and treatment. Check out their website for information here.
By reblogging we will put all of your urls on the side of the van and drive it to our village outreach on Thursday, but you also took the time to read about our program and encouraged others to do the same. So thanks!
You can also get more involved, click here for more things you can do!