Breast Milk Antibodies Fight HIV

The anti-HIV antibodies from mothers carrying HIV could be used to help develop a vaccine.

By | May 30, 2012

Flickr, Christy Scherrer


HIV can be transmitted to a child via breastfeeding, but despite this chronic, daily exposure to the virus through breast milk, only 1 in 10 HIV-infected nursing mothers passes the virus to her infant. Scientists now think they know why: antibodies from B cells in mother’s milk neutralize HIV-1, the most common strain of the virus, according to research published earlier this month (May 18) in PLoS One.

Researchers from Duke University isolated B cells from the breast milk of an HIV-infected lactating woman in Malawi 3 days after the birth of her child. They identified two antibodies, CH07 and CH08, that bind and neutralize HIV-1.

The finding could help researchers design an HIV-1 vaccine, the authors said. "Our work helped 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," author Sallie Permar, an assistant professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at Duke, said in a press release.

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. Genetic Test Solves Royal Mystery
    Notebook Genetic Test Solves Royal Mystery

    Genetic analyses lay to rest conspiracy theories about death of Belgian King Albert I, who lost his life in a rock climbing accident more than 80 years ago.

  2. Investigation Finds Pathologist Guilty of Systemic Misconduct
  3. Bacteria and Humans Have Been Swapping DNA for Millennia
  4. Opinion: Stop Submitting Papers