Researchers develop milk that protects against HIV

October 17, 2012
Milk that protects against HIV
Marit Kramski in the lab with frozen milk delivered from the farm. Credit: Damian Purcell

Melbourne researchers have developed cows' milk that protects human cells from HIV.

The milk contains antibodies which defend against (HIV).

The next step will be to develop it into a cream which women can apply to protect themselves from contracting HIV from sexual partners.

Melbourne University's Dr Marit Kramski and colleagues found that using cows to produce HIV-inhibiting antibodies is cheaper than existing methods.

They worked with Australian Immuron Ltd to develop the milk. The scientists vaccinated pregnant cows with an and studied the first milk that cows produced after giving birth.

The first milk, called the colostrum, is naturally packed with antibodies to protect the newborn calf from infections. The vaccinated cows produced in their milk.

"We were able to harvest antibodies specific to the HIV from the milk," said Marit, who is presenting her research this week as one of the winners of Fresh Science—a national program for early-career scientists.

"We have tested these antibodies and found in our laboratory experiments that they bind to HIV and that this inhibits the virus from infecting and entering ," she said.

Cows cannot contract HIV. But their  immune systems develop antibodies against the foreign protein.

The HIV-inhibiting antibodies from cows' milk will be developed into a cream called a microbicide that is applied into the vagina before and /or after sex to protect women from contracting sexually transmitted infections. Other microbicides are being developed around the world but the antibodies in this research are easier and cheaper to produce, providing a new HIV-prevention strategy.

"We hope that our anti-HIV milk antibodies will provide a user-friendly, female-controlled, safe and effective tool for the prevention of sexually acquired ," Marit said.

"If proven effective in humans, it will empower women to protect themselves against HIV."

About 30 million people are living with HIV globally and there is presently no effective vaccine for humans.The research was supported by the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology Research and the NHMRC.

Marit and her colleagues are now developing plans for animal and human studies.

Marit Kramski is one of 12 early career scientists unveiling their research to the public for the first time thanks to Fresh Science, a national program sponsored by the Australian Government.

Explore further: Breast milk antibody fights HIV but needs boost

More information: aac.asm.org/content/early/2012 … AC.00453-12.abstract

Related Stories

Breast milk antibody fights HIV but needs boost

September 19, 2011
Breast milk antibody both neutralizes human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and kills HIV-infected cells, according to a paper in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Virology.

Researchers discuss challenges to developing broadly protective HIV vaccines

September 7, 2011
The human body can produce powerful antibodies that shield cells in the laboratory against infection by an array of HIV strains. In people, however, recent research shows that these broadly neutralizing antibodies are not ...

Insight into HIV immunity may lead to vaccine

May 6, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Latest insights into immunity to HIV could help to develop a vaccine to build antibodies’ defences against the disease, a University of Melbourne study has found.

Recommended for you

Scientists find where HIV 'hides' to evade detection by the immune system

October 19, 2017
In a decades-long game of hide and seek, scientists from Sydney's Westmead Institute for Medical Research have confirmed for the very first time the specific immune memory T-cells where infectious HIV 'hides' in the human ...

National roll-out of PrEP HIV prevention drug would be cost-effective

October 18, 2017
Providing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication to men who have sex with men who are at high risk of HIV infection (equivalent to less than 5% of men who have sex with men at any point in time) in England would be cost-effective, ...

Regulatory T cells harbor HIV/SIV virus during antiviral drug treatment

October 17, 2017
Scientists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University have identified an additional part of the HIV reservoir, immune cells that survive and harbor the virus despite long-term treatment with antiviral drugs.

New research opens the door to 'functional cure' for HIV

October 17, 2017
In findings that open the door to a completely different approach to curing HIV infections, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have for the first time shown that a novel compound effectively ...

Researchers create molecule that could 'kick and kill' HIV

October 5, 2017
Current anti-AIDS drugs are highly effective at making HIV undetectable and allowing people with the virus to live longer, healthier lives. The treatments, a class of medications called antiretroviral therapy, also greatly ...

A sixth of new HIV patients in Europe 50 or older: study

September 27, 2017
People aged 50 and older comprise a growing percentage of HIV patients in Europe, accounting for one in six new cases in 2015, researchers said Wednesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.