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3 Health Stories that Are Worth Paying Attention To

Updated on August 9, 2016

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)

The Cure for HIV(human immunodeficiency virus)?

For as long as we could remember, there has been no cure for HIV/AIDS. Recommended methods for the prevention of this disease is to avoid blood-to-blood contact between people as well as practicing safe sex. The recommended method for treatment is to receive attention from a doctor who will manage the disease.

Up to this day, there is still no definite cure for the virus. However, scientists and researchers continue to study how to cure the life-threatening disease. And one of these studies actually showed signs of promise.

In February 2013, there was a report about nanoparticles carrying melittin were effective in destroying HIV by gradually destroying the double-layer viral envelope surrounding the virus. Potential applications include a vaginal gel that would target intrusion before infection and an intravenous treatment of extant HIV infections.

Cancerous Cells

Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Cancer is one of the diseases receiving a lot of coverage, and a lot of progress has already been made in the field. To this day, a lot of research has gone into finding a cure for the disease.

One such treatment is the drug trial conducted in Australia for lung cancer. The disease is the deadliest form of cancer in the country. And those diagnosed with advanced stage cancer usually have a year to live.

Novartis, a pharmaceutical company, was the one who paid for the clinical trial. The drug used was Ceritinib, which they manufacture. The drug is an ALK-inhibitor which turns the switch on and off which leads cancer cells to stop growing or die. Although some patients have said they felt good after taking the drug, more still need to be done. Medical professionals are particularly looking at ways to stay ahead of tumors so they don't become resistant to treatment.

Another positive story is the new painless way of diagnosing prostate cancer. Dr. Les Thompson, a urologist, and Dr. Rob Parkinson, a radiographer, have found a new method of accurately diagnosing cancer in a patient without the need for multiple biopsies.

Their method made use of an MRI scanner to detect suspicious cell areas in the prostrate. In the past, doctors used a crosshair to target the area with a small needle in order to take a small tissue sample which would then be analyzed in the lab.


Ebola Virus
Ebola Virus

Ebola Virus Outbreak

There are lots of deadly viruses that cause fear around the world, and one of them is the deadly Ebola virus (EBOV). EBOV causes extremely severe disease in humans and in nonhuman primates in the form of viral hemorrhagic fever.

It was in 1994 when the first case of a human contracting the virus occurred. It was a scientist in West Africa who was working with chimpanzees in the Ivory Coast. Before that, the virus was spread among animals.

Humans can contract the virus through contact with an infected animal. Once infected by the disease, humans can pass this along to others through the exchange of bodily fluids.

In 2014, it was reported that the Ebola virus was detected in samples of a viral hemorrhagic fever that has been responsible for the death of over 50 people in Guinea. This marks the first human outbreak of the virus in the country. One of the culprits blamed for the spread of the virus was the consumption of bat soup.

The last outbreaks of this virus was recorded in Congo and Uganda in 2012.

Purple oval is the bumper, round purple is the nanoparticle, green is melittin, virus is the round with spikes.
Purple oval is the bumper, round purple is the nanoparticle, green is melittin, virus is the round with spikes. | Source

What can melittin do?

Hearing about the types of virus is scary especially during these times when scientist are actually looking to harness viruses that can be used for biological warfare. Viruses such as HIV has been a scare for many and if not all people around the world. Contracting HIV for most people is the thought of an irreversible illness and eventually death.

Melittin is a component in insect and snake venom, more common is the melittin extrracted from honey bees. Melittin is use to disrupt membranes which is a linear peptide consist of 26 amino acid. Researchers found that this component can be used to destroy the protective layers of HIV to kill the virus. After finding the proper vehicle to carry the melittin it was made safe that the healthy cells does not get destroyed in the process. The use of nanoparticles was created some time ago as productive cells in the body but the problem was that it lack the ability to carry enough oxygen to be useful. The nanoparticles were then redesigned to carry melittin through the body, the nanoparticles were given "bumpers" with gaps since viruses are smaller than cells.

The virus will travel between the bumpers, make contact with the melittin and eventually die where as a heathy cell would be reflected off the bumper of the nanoparticle. This procedure is also used in fighting tumors and cancer and other viruses. Due to the nature of technique used to fight against HIV, it makes it nearly impossible for the virus to adapt to the treatment as it would through the use of antibiotics. Viruses develop a resistance strain when antibiotics become over used, causing the virus to adapt naturally.

Nanoparticles carrying melittin has been produced as a gel to combat the number contraction of the disease through STD.


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