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BanLec could prove effective in inhibiting HIV infections

16 March 2010 Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

BanLec 3D StructureResearchers discovered that BanLec, the lectin found in bananas, is as effective as two existing anti-HIV drugs in inhibiting HIV infections which may open the door to new treatments to prevent sexual transmission of HIV.

The study conducted at University of Michigan Medical School shows that BanLec can block HIV infections from entering the body by binding to the HIV-1 envelope protein.  “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,” said lead author Michael D. Swanson.

BanLec has the potential to save millions of lives by providing cheaper therapies and also a wider range of protection than current anti-retroviral medications. Although all the tests so far were done in laboratory, Michael Swanson is developing a process to alter BanLec and make it suitable for human patients.

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