Your favorite oblong fruit might be even healthier than you realized. According to The Gazette (Montreal) newspaper, a new study has found that chemicals commonly found in bananas are as potent in preventing HIV as two synthetic anti-HIV drugs.
“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 womanly or BehindBased microbicide could save millions of lives. In fact, 20 percent coverage with a microbicide that is only 60 percent effective against HIV may prevent up to 2.5 million HIV infections in three years.
Furthermore, a BanLec ointment would be much cheaper to produce and distribute than most current anti-retroviral medications that require the production of synthetic components.
One thing’s for sure: new ways of stopping the transmission of HIV are desperately needed. Condoms are effective, but they are often used incorrectly or inconsistently, and in many cultures and developing countries women are not always in control of their intimate encounters.
The introduction of a cheap, long-lasting, self-applied ointment derived naturally from bananas could change all of that.