A method that may help in preventing HIV transmission from breastfeeding is being developed by researchers from Lavax (Palatine, Ill.) and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
They have revealed that vaccinating the infants with probiotic lactobacilli from the human mouth can block HIV transmission via breastfeeding. It belongs to the same species as those found in dairy foods, such as yogurt and kefir.
According to the researchers this strain captures the HIV virus by binding to its outer 'envelope'.
As 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.
By screening a variety of food ingredients for a better protective agent, the investigators have identified a new alternative.
The analysis showed that, after 12 weeks, the Lactobacillus in the infant formula was as good as fresh Lactobacillus in capturing HIV and blocking the HIV infection of cultured mammalian cells.
The study was presented during the 86th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR).