Researchers Find HIV-Prevention Help From Cows' Milk

Cows' milk may become another tool in defending humans against HIV.

BY Michelle Garcia

October 18 2012 6:17 PM ET

Cows' milk may become another tool in defending humans against HIV.

In a new study from Melbourne, Australia, researchers vaccinated pregnant cows with an HIV protein and studied the first milk produced by the cow after birth, according to the Herald Sun. The first milk, known as colostrum, was then analyzed and researchers found it had a high count of antibodies. Cows, according to the report, cannot contract HIV.

"We think the antibodies bind to the surface of the virus and blocks the protein, which needs to be freed to get in contact with human cells -- like a key and lock system," lead researcher Marit Kramski of the University of Melbourne said in the Sun. "It the key's not accessible or you can change the key, you can't open the door."

The researchers are now looking to develop a preventative cream for women to use, which may also be inexpensive, but Kramski added that anything topical may be a decade off. Still, a cream may be a helpful tool for women  who don't have access to condoms, but still need a form of protection.

"A lot of women, especially in Africa or South America, they don't have the power to say you need to use a condom before we have sex," she said.

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