Scientists at two Belgian universities have discovered that human retrovirus drugs normally used to fight HIV can eradicate viral diseases in bananas.

Researchers at Gembloux University and the Catholic University of Leuven have found that banana streak virus, which has been impossible to eliminate until recently, uses the same type of enzymes as human viruses to replicate itself.

The compounds adevoir and tenoovir were found to be particularly effective in eradicating the virus from the banana.

The scientists said the use of pesticides in banana farming would be considerably reduced as a more disease-resistant variety of fruit now became available.