Bananas could help protect against AIDS: Scientists
Last Updated: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 00:00

London: The humble Banana may hold the key
to powerful new treatments that can protect against the deadly
Aids virus, a new study has claimed.

BanLec, a naturally occurring chemical in Banana, is as
effective against AIDS virus as two anti-HIV drugs now in use,
T-20 and maraviroc, the Daily Mail reported.

In laboratory tests, American researchers observed
that the lectin inhibits HIV infection by blocking the virus`s
entry into the body.

The chemical acts on the protein `envelope` that encloses
HIV`s genetic material, according to a report that appeared in
the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Michael Swanson, lead author from the University of
Michigan, said: "The problem with some HIV drugs is that the
virus can mutate and become resistant, but that`s much harder
to do in the presence of lectins.

"Lectins can bind to the sugars found on different spots
of the HIV-1 envelope, and presumably it will take multiple
mutations for the virus to get around them," Swanson said.

The researchers believe that therapies based on BanLec
could be used alone or in conjunction with other anti-HIV
drugs and they have the potential to save millions of lives.

According to a 2009 WHO report, around 33 million people
across the world are infected with HIV/AIDS.


First Published: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 00:00

comments powered by Disqus