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 2020 Jan;39(1):5-17. doi: 10.1007/s10096-019-03674-0. Epub 2019 Aug 17.

Melittin: a venom-derived peptide with promising anti-viral properties.

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1 Skin Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
2 Skin Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Despite tremendous advances in the development of anti-viral therapeutics, viral infections remain a chief culprit accounting for ongoing morbidity and mortality worldwide. Natural products, in particular animal venoms, embody a veritable cornucopia of exotic constituents, suggesting an immensurable source of anti-infective drugs. In this context, melittin, the principal constituent in the venom of the European honeybee Apis mellifera, has been demonstrated to exert anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-infective, and adjuvant properties. To our knowledge, there is no review appertaining to the effects of melittin against viruses, prompting us to synopsize experimental investigations on its anti-viral activity throughout the past decades. Accumulating evidence indicates that melittin curbs infectivity of a diverse array of viruses including coxsackievirus, enterovirus, influenza A viruses, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), Junín virus (JV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), and tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). However, medication safety, different routes of administrations, and molecular mechanisms behind the anti-viral activity of melittin should be scrutinized in future studies.


Anti-viral activity; Bee; Drug; Melittin; Venom

PMID: 31422545
DOI: 10.1007/s10096-019-03674-0


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All authors contributed equally to writing and revision of the manuscript. The authors reviewed and approved the final submitted manuscript.

Correspondence to Mojtaba Memariani.