New research suggests that green tea could play a role in preventing HIV due to the presence of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Scientists in both the US and UK have conducted a study that suggests that EGCG could stop HIV from attaching to immune system cells. However, the research, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, remains at an early stage.
Professor Mike Williamson of the University of Sheffield 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.
"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," he added.
It is expected that further research will look at how much green tea needs to be consumed in order to ensure that the EGCG levels are high enough to prevent HIV in humans rather than test tubes.
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