Recent research has found that breast milk has the ability to protect babies from getting infected with HIV.
Researchers say that they have found a component in breast milk which has the power to destroy the virus that causes AIDS.
"Even though we have anti-retroviral drugs that can work to prevent mother-to-child transmission, not every pregnant woman is being tested for HIV, and less than 60 percent are receiving the prevention drugs -- particularly in countries with few resources. There is still a need for alternative strategies to prevent mother-to-child transmission, which is why this work is important," study senior author Dr. Sallie Permar, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Duke University.
"TNC is a component of the 'extracellular matrix' that is integral to how tissues hold themselves together," Permar said. "This is a protein involved during wound healing, playing a role in tissue repair. It is also known to be important in fetal development, but its reason for being a component of breast milk or its antiviral properties had never been described."
Dr. Barton Haynes, director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, added: "The discovery of the HIV-inhibiting effect of this common protein in breast milk provides a potential explanation for why nursing infants born to HIV-infected mothers do not become infected more often than they do."