HIV Infection Prevented By…Bananas?
March 16th, 2010
HIV Infection Prevented By…Bananas? The Montreal Gazette reports that chemicals found in bananas are as effective at preventing HIV as some potent drugs currently on the market. The medical community hopes that this discovery could lead to the development of topical creams that could keep HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from being sexually transmitted.
A type of lectin called BanLec is found in bananas. Lectins are sugar binding proteins, and the particular one found in bananas surrounds the HIV virus and prevents it from entering the body.
Researchers note that the problem with many drugs is that a virus will mutate and become resistant to a drug over time. With a lechtin and the bonding process, it is much harder for the virus to adapt and get around them. They estimate it would take several mutations before lechtins would become ineffective.
If an ointment could be made affordably, it could save millions of lives. In addition, it will be far less expensive to make these ointments because they do not require the development of synthetic agents. Even without 100% effectiveness, the ointments still could put a dent in new HIV infections.
Still yet, the best way to prevent HIV infections is to abstain from exchanging bodily fluids with an infected individual. Condoms help, but when used incorrectly or inconsistently there is still a risk of contracting the virus.
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