Researchers from the U.S. and abroad have developed an inexpensive copper-based filter that may inhibit the transmission of HIV through breast milk and blood.
Previous studies have shown copper's potent antibacterial and antiviral activity.
In the current study, viral levels of HIV-1 in cultures were noted both before and after exposure to copper oxide powder, copper oxide fibres and copper-based filters.
Researcher's determined HIV-1 inhibition took place after dose-dependant exposure to both copper oxide and copper fibres.
Following filtration with copper powder or copper fibres viral deactivation of all isolates was observed.
"This inexpensive methodology may significantly reduce HIV-1 transmission from mother-to-child and/or through blood donations if proven to be effective in breast milk or plasma and safe for use," the researchers said.
"The successful application of this technology may impact HIV-1 transmission, especially in developing countries where HIV-1 is rampant," they added.
The study is published in the February 2008 issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.