Target: Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health
Goal: Fund further research on bee venom as a possible HIV cure
Over 34 million people have HIV, and over 25 million people have died of AIDS since it first became recognized 30 years ago. Approximately 1 million Americans are infected with HIV. So far, the most effective treatment against the disease is antiretroviral drugs, which stop the virus from replicating. There hasn’t been any feasible treatment that destroys the virus itself—until now. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis recently discovered that bee venom can kill the HIV virus.
Bee venom contains a toxin called melittin. Melittin pokes holes into an HIV cell’s viral membrane, causing it to rupture. Other cells are much larger than HIV cells, so the rest of the body’s cells are left unharmed. Researchers propose that melittin could potentially be used to make a shot that could cure people of HIV. It could also be used to make a preventative vaginal gel.
One man was cured in Berlin when he received a bone marrow transplant from a donor who had a genetic mutation that causes immunity to HIV. But this cure is dangerous and, sadly, too expensive to use on a larger scale. Washington University researchers say melittin would be fairly easy and cheap to manufacture.
Further research is needed to see if a natural toxin found in bee venom could cure one of the worst epidemics of the 20th and 21st centuries. Please urge the National Institutes of Health, America’s largest research hospital, to fund more research on melittin as a cure for HIV.
Dear Dr. Collins,
AIDS is one of the deadliest epidemics of our time. Over 34 million people are infected throughout the world, and over 25 million have died. So far the best treatment has been antiretroviral drugs, which stop the virus from replicating. But researchers at Washington University recently discovered that melittin, a toxin found in bee venom, can destroy the virus itself.
This is the best lead we have yet towards a cure. One man was cured in Berlin with a bone marrow transplant containing a genetic immunity to HIV, but this is too dangerous and costly on a wider scale. A baby was recently cured of HIV with an antiretroviral cocktail, but this wouldn’t work on adults with HIV. Melittin is both a potential cure and preventative method. It can be manufactured easily and cheaply.
With your help, further studies of melittin as an HIV cure could possibly save millions of lives. Please make melittin/HIV studies a top priority for NIH medical research.
[Your Name Here]