Health Team

Duke study: Antibodies in breast milk can help neutralize HIV

Posted May 23, 2012

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— Breast milk contains antibodies that can help neutralize the HIV virus that causes AIDS, researchers at Duke University Medical Center said Wednesday.

The discovery may have implications for the development of an HIV vaccine.

The study, which was published last week in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS One, studied immune cells in the breast milk of mothers in Malawi who are infected with HIV. The cells, called "B-cells," generate neutralizing antibodies that can inhibit the HIV virus.

HIV can be spread from mother to child through breast milk, yet such a transmission is only known to happen to one in 10 nursing mothers.

"That is remarkable because nursing children are exposed multiple times each day during the first year of life," said senior study author Sallie Permar, who is an assistant professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at Duke. 

The discovery that breast milk might help neutralize the virus is significant, researchers say, because it means that getting more B-cells to produce helpful antibodies could lead to the development of an HIV vaccine.


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  • connieleigh4 May 29, 2012

    This is GREAT news for those suffering with that terrible disease!

  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 25, 2012

    @smbiz, ummm...infant formula IS cow milk...unless it specifically says otherwise. (E.g. soy)

    If folks think drinking cow milk is a natural thing to do, imaging drinking cat milk...or dog milk. Gross, right? But, it's the same thing as drinking cow milk...or feeding it to your captive child who depends on you for survival.

  • fatchanceson May 25, 2012

    Do your customers care if it's pumped out first? paulej

    Yes... and of course, I want to inspect the storaege area.... thouroughly. But, will need to see pics of the... facility... first... :)

  • snowl May 24, 2012

    Ah yes! I never doubted that mother's can save the world! Mom power!

  • Alexia.1 May 24, 2012

    "my wife is willing to sell some of her breast milk,i am thinking some where along the line of 500 dollars a gallon,since the pump she purchased the other week was over 300 dollars" --kcollier39

    Do your customers care if it's pumped out first?

  • storchheim May 24, 2012

    Good thing the article specified over and over that it's BREAST milk. Here I was thinking it was the ANKLE milk that's so great.

    It's a shame that the grocery store product is called cow's milk, but a human produces not HUMAN milk, but BREAST milk. As if breasts were separate entities.

    We pretend to revere "breastfeeding" because we don't want to be called sexist or g-d forbid, anti-TheChildren! You revere it? Then give it a reverent label: human milk, mother's milk. The choice of words matters greatly.

    At least hereandnow99 got it right.

  • Uhavenoclu May 24, 2012

    Y'all take things so seriously. you just see words and not tones or messages. I laughed when I read his comment. Can you say SARCASTIC? I love breasts Milk Soda. hey will we see breast feeding adults down at.barnes and noble or mcdonalds?

  • jcbarber6 May 24, 2012

    All formula contains cows milk unless it is soy. Which is horrible for anyone to drink. This is amazing!! Hopefully, now more people will do what our bodies were meant to do and stop critisizing mothers who choose to full term breastfeed!

  • ICTrue May 24, 2012

    "God I hope you are being sarcastic! This is a huge advancement. We already knew breastmilk was good for babies and now finding out it could be the link to curing HIV patients is astounding!" pirate09

    I suggest you just ignore BigA. Trying to turn an article about breastmilk into an anti-Christian rant....seriously?

  • pirate09 May 24, 2012

    This will never succeed. At least not as long as we have "Family Values" and "the Sanctity of something". This is just sinful, wrong, and the Bible probably says something about it too. Nope, we don't need this kind of sickness infecting us good, Christian folk here in NC. I say let's get us a Constipational Amendment banning breast feeding of any kind in our Biblical State!

    God I hope you are being sarcastic! This is a huge advancement. We already knew breastmilk was good for babies and now finding out it could be the link to curing HIV patients is astounding!