e-letter from "Healthier Talk" <email@example.com>
April 16, 2010
After struggling to beat this deadly virus for decades, it turns out the key to stopping the HIV virus it its tracks may lay within a simple natural fruit extract!
Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered a chemical in bananas that is at least as effective as the leading two synthetic drugs at stopping the spread of the HIV virus.
Experts predict BanLac, a sugar binding protein, may one day be credited with saving millions of lives. And doing it at a price tag that’s far below the synthetic drugs currently available.
Lectins, like BanLac, occur naturally in plants. What makes them special is their ability to bind to sugars.
Since the outside of the HIV virus is covered in sugars scientists theorized that BanLac might have some ability to prevent the virus from spreading. They were right. When introduced to the virus BanLac essentially grabbed onto it and wouldn’t let go. The HIV was literally prevented from entering the body.
But here’s the really exciting part, and what makes BanLac superior to the current drugs. HIV is notorious for its ability to mutate and find its way around HIV drugs (part of what makes it such a nasty virus). But BanLac can bind to the sugars in different spots on the outside of the virus forcing it to mutate multiple times to have any chance of getting around it.
Scientists hope to be able to eventually produce an affordable microbicide that can be self-applied. While the wheels of research and development tend to roll maddeningly slow at times this new research makes me believe we’ll see something fast-tracked.
While it may not be getting the same coverage it was 20 years ago, HIV is still rampant in the U.S. and is an exploding problem in poorer developing countries. Even with all of our advances, HIV is still a virtual death sentence in the end.
So if this discovery proves to be real, I’m confident we’ll see it come to market soon – just hopefully not as an overpriced, synthetic drug with a long list of side effects.