Banana Compounds Could Help Prevent the Spread of HIV


Senior Member
I'm not sure if this fits here, maybe it woud be better in Alternative therapies, but since it has to do with a retrovirus I put it here. Wonder if this could work for XMRV??

NaturalNews) University of Michigan (U-M) Medical School scientists have found a potent substance that could block the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus believed to cause AIDS. This HIV preventative isn't a potent new drug or chemical-laden vaccine. Instead, it's a natural substance derived from a popular, inexpensive fruit -- bananas.

In their study, just published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the researchers noted that HIV/AIDS remains a world-wide epidemic. "HIV is still rampant in the U.S. and the explosion in poorer countries continues to be a bad problem because of tremendous human suffering and the cost of treating it," study senior author David Marvovitz, M.D., professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School, said in a statement to media.

Bottom line: new ways of stopping the spread of HIV are desperately needed. In fact, the rate of new HIV infections is currently outpacing the rate of new patients receiving Big Pharma's expensive anti-retroviral drugs by 2.5 to 1. And while the medical establishment has pushed the idea of an AIDS vaccine for decades, an effective vaccine remains elusive. However, lectins, which are naturally occurring chemicals in plants, could hold the key to fighting HIV/AIDS because they are able to stop the chain of reactions that lead to a variety of infections, including HIV.

The U-M scientists specifically studied BanLec, the lectin found in bananas. In laboratory tests, they found it was just as potent as two current anti-HIV drugs. In a statement to the media, the researchers said BanLec may become a less expensive new component of applied vaginal microbicides (topical treatments used to stop the spread of HIV through sexual contact).

Although condom use can be effective in preventing HIV from being transmitted, condoms are successful only if used consistently and correctly -- but that's not often the case. "That's particularly true in developing countries where women have little control over sexual encounters so development of a long-lasting, self-applied microbicide is very attractive," Dr. Marvovitz explained.

The new study found that lectins, sugar-binding proteins, are able to "outsmart" viruses. They identify a virus in the body and attach themselves to it. BanLec was found to inhibit HIV infection by binding to the sugar-rich HIV-1 envelope protein dubbed gp120. The result? The virus was blocked from replicating.

Study co-authors Erwin J. Goldstein, Ph.D., professor emeritus of biological chemistry at U-M and Harry C. Winter, Ph.D., research assistant professor in biological chemistry at U-M, invented the biopurification method used to isolate BanLec from bananas. They pointed out that although they found that the banana-derived HIV inhibitor was similar in potency to T-20 and maraviroc, two anti-HIV drugs currently in clinical use, there are some big differences.

First, therapies incorporating BanLec should be cheaper than current anti-retroviral prescription medications made from chemicals. What's more, the researchers stated that BanLec could provide a wider range of protection from HIV than synthetically created drugs do.

"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," lead author Michael D. Swanson, a doctoral student in the graduate program in immunology at U-M, noted in a press statement. "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."

The scientists stated that even if the banana-derived HIV preventative is only modestly successful, it could save millions of lives. Other studies have previously estimated that 20 percent coverage with a microbicide that is even 60 percent effective against HIV may prevent up to 2.5 million HIV infections in three years

This is an interesting article, though I am not surprised it did not get any answers ;-)

Lectin is not unique to bananas. Rather the human body uses its own lectin - MBL (mannan binding lectin) as an important part of the innate immune system. But MBL deficiencies are the most common immune defect over all. Every third is slightly short on MBL, roughly 5% are seriously mbl deficient and 0,3% (like myself) have no MBL at all.

The strange thing is, as far as I know, there has not even been an attempt to link MBL deficiency to ME/CFS, whereas I am absolutely confident, that at least in my case the two are necessarily linked. The best thing is, that MBL would be an available therapy - MBL is being produced as a recombinant gene-tech product.

So there could be a cure for millions of ME/CFS Patients right around the corner, and it looks like thats where it is going to stay...

This link might be interesting in this context (sorry I could not make it shorter)


Senior Member
Victoria, BC
Interesting--thanks, Leitwolf. But the abstract suggests that though it is active in recognizing HIV, it is not very active in doing anything about it--I don't see evidence that it might be really useful per se in fighting XMRV--have you seen such evidence? Chris

If you know what MBL does and how it works it is easy to see that it must play a major role in a lot of infections, HIV or XMRV being some of which. There are a lot of resources on the internet, no need to post any specific link. In any case substitution proved to be very successul with regard to other viral infections (like Herpes) in mbl deficient patients. But these are only fractions of the information needed to understand what is going on.

We already know that some people do not necessarily get sick through HIV, they are naturallly immune. That is what the most prominent HIV researchers like Luc Montagnier are telling. It is also obvious from the fact that mankind, in a world without medication, would otherwise be extincted - quite absurd. We evolved over millions of years and then, just in our time HIV comes a long and puts an end to mankind..??? No, not really...

In an evolutionary process a virus like HIV sorts out a part of the population. Some are fit enough, some are not. The variation of MBL levels does exist exactly for that cause. Lack of MBL gives immunity against certain diseases like leprosy or tuberculosis, while it makes vulnerable against other infections. So, in order to heal a disease like HIV all you would need to do is to find out, what makes some people sick and some not and substitute for what is lacking. It is a very simple science, but not very popular. It seems like healing diseases is not a good business model when you make money with the sick...


"and this too shall pass"
Vancouver Canada suburbs
maybe adding lectin will help prevent the retrovirus becoming resistant

Scientists have found a special protein in the banana that could help to prevent HIV infections during sexual intercourse. They hope this may open the door to new and cheaper treatments to prevent the spread of AIDS.

The researchers, from the US University of Michigan Medical School, have an emerging interest in lectins, a type of proteins naturally occurring chemicals in plants, because of their ability to halt the chain of reaction that leads to a variety of infections.

"In laboratory tests, BanLec, the lectin found in bananas, was as potent as two current anti-HIV drugs," according to the study. Based on the findings published this month in the scientific 'Journal of Biological Chemistry,' "BanLec may become a less expensive new component of applied vaginal microbicides," researchers say.

Some of the most promising compounds for inhibiting vaginal and rectal HIV transmission are agents that block HIV prior to integration into its target cell, according to the study.

The new research describes the complex actions of lectins and their ability to outsmart HIV. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins. They can identify foreign invaders, like a virus, and attach themselves to the pathogen.

The researcher team discovered BanLec, the lectin in bananas, can inhibit HIV infection by binding to the sugar-rich HIV-1 envelope protein, gp120, and blocking its entry to the body.

"Therapies using BanLec could be cheaper to create than current anti-retroviral medications which use synthetically produced components, plus BanLec may provide a wider range of protection," the US researchers say.

"The problem with some HIV drugs is that the virus can mutate and become resistant, but that is much harder to do in the presence of lectins," says lead author Michael Swanson.