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The breast milk advantage

May 26, 2012

Antibodies isolated from infected mothers’ breast milk can inhibit the virus that causes AIDS, says a new discovery. HIV-1 can be transmitted from mother to child via breastfeeding, posing a challenge for safe infant feeding practices in areas of high HIV-1 prevalence. But only one in 10 HIV-infected mothers is known to pass the virus to their infants. “Our work helped to establish that these B-cells in breast milk can produce HIV-neutralizing antibodies, so enhancing the response or getting more mucosal B-cells to produce those helpful antibodies would be useful, and this is a possible route to explore for HIV-1 vaccine development,” Permar added. The antibodies isolated are the first HIV antibodies isolated from breast milk that react with the HIV-1 envelope, and it is important to understand how they work to attack HIV-1.

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Categories: Public Health
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