Saturday

HIV, human milk....infant formula

(photo by Jesse McClain, 2007)
An infant formula company in Japan, Snow Brand Milk Products Co., filed a patent in 1994 with the US Patent Office. It was patent # 5,565,425 called, "Viral infection and proliferation inhibitor," by inventors Yamamoto et al. A few years ago Snow Brand Milk Products merged with Nestle of Japan. This patent stated:
"Recently, the inventors confirmed the inhibitory effect of iron-binding proteins against infection and growth of HIV and accomplished an invention of HIV infection and growth inhibitor containing LF (lactoferrin) as an effective ingredient (Japanese Patent Application No. 220635 (1992)."
In a more recent patent application owned by Agennix (biotech company that produces recombinant lactoferrin) and invented by Varadhachary et al. called "Use of lactoferrin in prophylaxis against infection and or inflammation in immune suppressed subjects," filed in 2004, it is stated,
"Lactoferrin has also been recognized as a potent inhibitor of various viruses. (Matthews et al., Hansen et al., 1995; Marchetti et al., 1998, Ikeda et al., 1999)."
and,
"For instance Inoue et al. have reported that orally administered natural human lactoferrin significantly reduces GVDH (graft versus host disease) ..."
Agennix has many patents at the US Patent Office. They also have a patent called, "Composition of lactoferrin, related peptides and uses thereof," filed in 2005. They are creating the recombinant lactoferrin to make a pharmaceutical composition to treat infectious diseases. (hiv/aids being one of those diseases).
If human lactoferrin is considered a potent inhibitor of hiv/aids by infant formula companies and biotech pharmaceutical companies, why is breastfeeding discouraged by the medical profession?
Human milk has more lactoferrin than cow's milk (trace amounts). Infant formula has no natural lactoferrin in it. What lactoferrin it has must be genetically engineered. What do these companies know about human milk components that is not being made public? The use of infant formula to decrease the spread of hiv/aids is premised on the belief that hiv positive mothers pass the virus through breastmilk. But the proof of this is rather dubious. Some human milk researchers say that when the hiv virus is placed in human milk, anti-viral factors kill the organism. So why have we been so quick to believe that hiv is transmitted through breastmilk? to be continued...

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