Pokeweed Antiviral Inhibits HIV

February 19, 2001

WESTPORT, Conn-Researchers from the Parker Hughes Institute in St. Paul, Minn, have found that pokeweed antiviral protein (PAP) inhibits HIV-1without injuring sperm or female genital tract epithelial cells.

The nonspermicidal antiretroviral treatment could allow pregnancy of women in couples where the male partner is HIV-positive without putting the mother and fetus at risk of contracting the viral infection.

PAP comes from purified leaves of Phytolacca Americana and has shown broad antiviral activity against a number of pathogenic viruses. It has shown to protect against HIV-1, herpes simplex virus, and cytomegalovirus.

The discovery is important because it is a potent antiviral agent that has no adverse effects on either sperm function or female genital-tract epithelial cells, making it a fitting ingredient for spermicides.

PAP is said to directly inactivate the virus as well as interrupt the virus life cycle under conditions that do not affect sperm function.

Information from: www.hivandhepatitis.com