Hypothesis of snake and insect venoms against Human Immunodeficiency Virus: a review


Snake and insect venoms have been demonstrated to have beneficial effects in the treatment of certain diseases including drug resistant human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. We evaluated and hypothesized the probable mechanisms of venoms against HIV.

Previous literatures published over a period of 30 years (1979-2009) were searched using the key words snake venom, insect venom, mechanisms and HIV. Mechanisms were identified and discussed.
Results & Conclusion

With reference to mechanisms of action, properties and components of snake venom such as sequence homology and enzymes (protease or L- amino acid oxidase) may have an effect on membrane protein and/or act against HIV at multiple levels or cells carrying HIV virus resulting in enhanced effect of anti-retroviral therapy (ART). This may cause a decrease in viral load and improvement in clinical as well as immunological status. Insect venom and human Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) have potential anti-viral activity through inhibition of virion entry into the cells. However, all these require further evaluation in order to establish its role against HIV as an independent one or as a supplement.

The complete article can be found at AIDS research and Therapy.