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Breast milk best for fighting HIV, says US study

Antibodies in breast milk can help inhibit the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), researchers in the United States revealed. The discovery may lead to the development of an HIV vaccine, the Duke University Medical Center reported on Thursday, Manila-time (Wednesday in the US). The study, published May 18 in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS One, looked into certain immune cells in the breast milk of HIV-infected mothers in the African nation of Malawi. Cells called “B-cells” were found to generate antibodies that can neutralize the HIV virus. “That is remarkable because nursing children are exposed multiple times each day during the first year of life,” said senior study author Sallie Permar, an assistant professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at Duke. An infected mother can spread HIV to her child through breast milk, yet such transmission only happens to one in 10 nursing mothers infected by HIV. — Marlon Anthony Tonson /LBG, GMA News