Is breast milk a secret weapon against HIV?

Researchers at Duke University have identified a protein in breast milk that prevents infants from contracting HIV from their infected mothers.

It's long been thought a mother's milk had preventative properties but this is the first time the substance has been identified. (Via WNCN)

It's called Tenascin-C or TNC. Researchers have known about the protein's wound healing abilities but the discovery of antimicrobial capabilities could help create new ways to prevent HIV. (Via International Business Times)

In a statement the lead author said: "Even though we have antiretroviral drugs that can work to prevent mother-to-child transmission, not every pregnant woman is being tested for HIV ... So there is still a need for alternative strategies to prevent mother-to-child transmission, which is why this work is important." (Via Duke University)

TNC works to fight HIV transmitting by defusing the virus.

Researchers say they can use this discovery to possibly create a treatment given to infants before they begin breastfeeding. (Via HealthDay)

According to UNICEF about 330,000 children worldwide acquired HIV from their mothers through pregnancy or birth in 2011.

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