Topic: HIV

Virus-Fighting Milk Sugars

Virus-Fighting Milk Sugars

For many years, researchers have known that breastfed infants gain some protection from certain viral infections. Occasionally, however, viruses like HIV, a kind of herpes called cytomegalovirus, and HTLV-1, which is linked to leukemia, are transmitted in breast milk from mom to babe. Explaining why infection occurs in some mother-infant pairs but not in many others remains a pressing question. Lately, a series of papers has implicated the complex and highly variable jumble of carbohydrates found in breast milk. In most cases these appear to protect infants from viral infection. But, on rare occasions, they may facilitate it. Read More...

To Secrete or Not to Secrete

To Secrete or Not to Secrete

On a cruise ship with a Norovirus outbreak, the chance of becoming infected is largely determined by a single gene: FUT2. Likewise, a mother’s “secretor status”—whether or not she secretes certain protective sugars in milk—is determined by this same gene. Want to know more about FUT2 and the protective sugars in mother's milk? Read More...

Milk lymphocytes battle HIV

Milk lymphocytes battle HIV

Contagious viral diseases have been the scourge of mammals ever since mammals first emerged some two hundred million years ago. There has been an arms race ever since, with viruses evolving new mechanisms to invade mammals, and in response, mammals evolve new counteractive defense strategies. The success of these evolutionary countermeasures is evidenced by our current existence, but the conflict continues. Read More...

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