Green tea could keep HIV at bay

Drinking green tea could help in the fight against HIV/AIDS, according to research published by the University of Sheffield and Baylor College of Medicine, in Texas, USA.

Scientists have discovered that a component of green tea called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, prevents HIV from binding to our immune system cells by getting there first. Once EGCG has bound to our immune system cells there is no room for HIV to take hold.

Professor Mike Williamson, from the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Sheffield and who worked on the study, said: “Our research shows that drinking green tea could reduce the risk of becoming infected by HIV, and could also slow down the spread of HIV.”

He added: “It is not a cure, and nor is it a safe way to avoid infection, however, we suggest that it should be used in combination with conventional medicines to improve quality of life for those infected. Future research is also currently under way in order to determine how much effect can be expected from different amounts of tea.”

Notes for Editors: Funding for this research came from the US National Institutes of Health, the Paediatric Research and Education Fund at Baylor College of Medicine and the David Fund, Paediatric AIDS Fund and Immunology Research Fund at Texas Children’s Hospital and the Centres for AIDS Research.

Source University of Sheffield

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