Now that they've shown a method for keeping the bacteria alive in heat, the researchers have to decide the most effective product to use. Infant formula is an obvious candidate, or possibly a type of lollipop that an infant could suck on, Tao said.
Once the lactobacilli are ingested, the bacteria will colonize the infants' GI tract, and as long as they are fed milk, the bacteria will remain alive and able to capture HIV, said Tao.
"This study provides hope for the prevention of HIV. So far, all of the AIDS vaccines have failed in clinical trials, but this shows that there are alternatives. There are ways to conquer this virus," said Tao, who said the next step is to secure additional funding for further research.
"The notion of using probiotics to protect infants against HIV-positive breast milk is a novel, promising and interesting notion that bears further study," said Siegel.
To learn more about HIV infection in babies and children, visit the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
SOURCES: Lin Tao, D.D.S., Ph.D., associate professor, department of oral biology, University of Illinois at Chicago; Marc Siegel, M.D., internist and associate professor, New York University Langone Medical Center and School of Medicine, and author, False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear; July 3, 2008, International Association for Dental Research annual meeting, Toronto
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