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Discovery in breast milk could be monumental breakthrough in fight against HIV

9:31 AM, Oct 23, 2013   |    comments
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A natural protein in breast milk has been found to combat HIV, according to a team of scientists and doctors at Duke University.

According to an article on Smithsonian.com, the team pinpointed the protein while investigating why only 10 to 20 percent of babies breastfeeding from mothers with HIV contract the virus.

The protein known as Tenascin C was shown to neutralize, and in most cases, prevent HIV from being passed on from mother to child, according to the article.

"The protein works by binding to the HIV envelope, and one of the interesting things is that we were even able to narrow down exactly where on the envelope it binds," Sallie Permar, the study's lead author told Smithsonian.com.

Permar says the next tests will be to determine which part of the protein is "active in binding to HIV and whether it can prevent transmission in a living creature."

If so, researchers are hopeful that Tenascin C could eventually be utilized as a tool for fighting HIV in infants and adults.

Read the entire original article here.

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