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Coronavirus: Human breast milk could help prevent Covid-19, study finds

Web report/Dubai
Filed on September 30, 2020 | Last updated on September 30, 2020 at 11.12 pm
human breast milk, prevent, treat, coronavirus, Covid-19,  Beijing University of Chemical Technology

(Reuters)

Researchers also claim that whey proteins in cow and goat milk may offer a similar, though less effective, protection.

A new study has shown that human breast milk may help prevent or treat Covid-19.

Beijing University of Chemical Technology experts say that whey proteins in breast milk can inhibit Sars-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, by "blocking viral attachment, entry and even post-entry viral replication".

The researchers' findings, published on pre-print specialist site biorxiv.org, have not yet been peer-reviewed.

However, they also claim that whey proteins in cow and goat milk may offer a similar, though less effective, protection.

According to the British newspaper The Times newspaper, the Chinese experts found that "cow and goat whey proteins could suppress the coronavirus by about 70%, but the efficacy of human whey was far more impressive at 98%".

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that mothers infected with the coronavirus should continue breastfeeding their babies.

For the latest Chinese study, cells from the human gut and lungs were exposed to Sars-CoV-2.

The researchers then examined the impact of breast milk, which had been collected in 2017, had on the cells.

According to The Times, the team "observed almost no viral binding or entry to these healthy cells, as well as the halting of viral replication in already-infected cells".

"Human milk was able to eliminate the virus in a broader range of cell types" than animal milk, "but the researchers said it was unclear what had caused the difference", adds the South China Morning Post.

According to The Week, there has been further reassurance for mothers. The Week says a recent US study outlined in a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that breast milk does not spread the coronavirus and "may not be a source of infection for the infant". 

Researchers are now looking into whether breast milk could be used as a treatment for Covid-19.


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