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Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Children's Health Channel
Reported July 7, 2008

Formula Blocks HIV to Infant

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – A major problem in many areas of Africa is the transmission of HIV from mother to infant when breastfeeding. Often times, there is no other option but to breastfeed the baby even though the mother is also passing on HIV. Now, scientists have developed a new way to preserve a formula in the hot climates of Africa that could help protect the baby from HIV in their mother’s milk.

Study authors first discovered a special strain of probiotic lactobacilli from the human mouth. This is the same species as those found in dairy foods such as yogurt. The strain captures the HIV virus. Researchers say once an infant is inoculated with Lactobacillus, the protection is there until they are weaned. While this finding offers a solution, the problem is the hot climate in Africa. There is a lack of refrigeration and so it would not last if stored in hot temperatures.

Researchers then tried sugars to protect the lactobacilli, but the sugars also could not last in the heat. By analyzing a number of food ingredients, researchers have identified a new alternative. They discovered a new agent that will keep Lactobacillus strain viable for 12 weeks in hot temperatures. Their researchers showed it worked in infant formula. They say this method could help facilitate the development of a safe and effective infant formula to protect infants from HIV when they are breastfeeding.

SOURCE: Study presented at the 86th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research on July 3, 2008

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