Well, it killed particles of infected cells in mice.
New research from University of North Carolina suggests that breast milk “has a strong [HIV] virus-kiling effect,” according to authors of the study, conducted at the UNC Center for Infectious Diseases and the UNC Center for AIDS Research. Scientists have long wondered whether breast milk fought the virus or — like other bodily fluids — transmitted it. In fact, they found that breast milk has “amazing ability of breast milk to destroy HIV and prevent its transmission.” It’s good news, and could even lead to the development of natural products that fight HIV.
To investigate further, Angela Wahl at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her colleagues created mice with human bone marrow, liver and thymus tissues that all became infected with HIV if the mice were given an oral dose of the virus. However, if the rodents were fed human breast milk contaminated with HIV, the virus wasn’t transmitted.
Previous research had hinted at breast milk’s antiviral properties, but it was unclear if they would prevent transmission. “We have shown that milk has an intrinsic innate ability to kill HIV,” J. Victor Garcia, who supervised the work, reported in the journal PLos Pathogens. The hunt is now on for the ingredient in breast milk that inhibits the virus.