This is a major problem in many areas of Africa, where HIV-positive mothers have no alternative to breastfeeding. So far, no practical and effective methods are available to prevent HIV transmission by this route.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a global epidemic threatening the lives of millions of people.
Because there is no known cure, prevention of the transmission of the virus that causes AIDS, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), is critical for controlling the disease.
A team of researchers from Lavax (Palatine, Ill.) and the University of Illinois at Chicago is developing a new technology that prevents the infection of HIV by breastfeeding.
They have isolated a special strain of probiotic lactobacilli from the human mouth. It belongs to the same species as those found in dairy foods, such as yogurt and kefir. This strain captures the HIV virus by binding to its outer ‘envelope’.
Because it grows and reproduces itself in milk, once an infant is inoculated with the Lactobacillus, the protection may last until the infant is weaned. This technology offers an easily administered alternative to HIV vaccines, which are currently unavailable.
However, the hot climate and the lack of refrigeration in Africa pose a great challenge for the shelf life of lactobacilli. The aim of this study was to develop a lasting formula of lactobacilli for infants to be used as prevention against the transmission of HIV through breastfeeding.
Read more information at EurekAlert