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Bananas May Provide Key to Preventing Spread of HIV

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 by: Tony Isaacs
Tags: HIV, bananas, health news

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(NewsTarget) Could bananas provide a key to preventing the spread of HIV? A new study published last month in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has found that a lectin compound known as BanLec found in bananas is as effective in preventing the spread of HIV as two commonly prescribed drugs.

The study was conducted at the University of Michigan Medical School, where researchers found that BanLec was able to stop HIV from entering the body by connecting to the HIV type 1 envelope protein. Lectins are sugar binding proteins found in plants and can successfully recognize and bind to foreign invaders in the body. The BanLec compound had previously been shown to bind to high mannose carbohydrate structures, including those found on viruses such as the human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1).

The research study abstract reported that the researchers "determined that BanLec inhibits primary and laboratory-adapted HIV-1 isolates of different tropisms and subtypes" and that "BanLec possesses potent anti-HIV activity." The researchers also found that BanLec compared favorably to T-20 and maraviroc, two anti-HIV drugs currently in clinical use.

According to the University of Michigan Medical School researchers, the study results suggest that BanLec could become a less expensive and highly effective new kind of vaginal microbicide.

"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," said lead author Michael D. Swanson. "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 and his colleagues noted that even modest success in developing BanLec into a vaginal or anal microbicide could result in millions of lives being saved. For example, even 20 percent coverage with a microbicide that is only 60 percent effective against HIV might be able to prevent up to 2.5 million HIV infections in only three years. In addition, a BanLec ointment would be much cheaper to produce and distribute than anti-retroviral medications that require the production of synthetic components.

Without a doubt, new and affordable ways of stopping the spread of the HIV virus are needed desperately. Condoms are effective most of the time, but they are also frequently used incorrectly or inconsistently. In many cultures and developing countries women are not always in control of their sexual encounters and anti-viral drugs may be difficult and expensive to obtain. A cheap, long-lasting, self-applied ointment derived naturally from bananas could make a huge difference.

Sources Included:


About the author

Tony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hosts The Best Years in Life website for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group "S.A N.E.Vax. Inc" which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers.
Mr. Isaacs is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near Austin and San Antonio to give lectures and health seminars. He also hosts the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and he serves as a consultant to the "Utopia Silver Supplement Company".

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