Breastfeeding moms with COVID-19 pass antibodies to their Babies

Breastfeeding women with COVID-19 don’t transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus through their milk, but do pass on milk-borne antibodies that can neutralize the virus, a new study indicates.

Researchers analyzed 37 milk samples submitted by 18 women diagnosed with COVID-19. None of the milk samples contained the virus, while nearly two thirds of the samples did contain two antibodies specific to the virus.

Critically, the findings provide evidence that COVID-19 positive mothers should not be separated from their newborn children. At the onset of the pandemic, major health organizations provided contradictory advice on the necessity of separation was necessary.

You’ll find the details of the study over here. Good news, sound science, is always worth checking out.

Bite From This Tick Makes You Allergic To Red Meat


Wikimedia Commons

❝ The Lone Star tick is distinct for the star-shaped marking on its back. That, and for the fact that, if it bites you, you might not be able to truly enjoy a hamburger ever again.

This carnivore’s nightmare is caused by a sugar molecule known as Alpha-Gal…When someone is bitten by a Lone Star tick, the body’s immune system has to rewire itself in order to combat this newly introduced molecule…

❝ In other words, your body has to create Alpha-Gal antibodies to fight the molecule. Unfortunately, this same molecule is also highly prevalent in red meat.

Many victims don’t realize what’s happened until the next time they eat meat — since the antibodies are most highly activated after the molecule has traveled through their gastrointestinal tract.

“Hours later, patients wake up with hives, shortness of breath, vomiting, and diarrhea,” Stone said. “Some patients have had to be given life support because their blood pressure is so low that they’re in…danger of dying.”

❝ For a lot of people, it takes a few reactions before they realize meat is triggering the outbreaks. After all, they’ve eaten meat their entire lives and been totally fine.

Cases of these kinds of tick bites are on the rise, spreading from the southeastern U.S. all the way up through New York and Minnesota.

As of now, there’s no cure or vaccine.

Ticks are worth avoiding as a general rule, anyway. Lots of bad stuff can get passed along into your circulatory system. And, no, I don’t think it’s a GMO plot by PETA.

Genetically-modified mosquitoes can’t transmit malaria

Last year, Prof. Anthony James announced that he and his colleagues had genetically altered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in a fashion that could drastically reduce their populations. In a nutshell, the altered genes cause the female mosquitoes to be born without wings – this makes it rather difficult for them to go foraging for blood, and turns them into easy prey for almost any predator. The non-biting males are born with wings, and subsequently go off and mate with unmodified females, passing the modified genes along to their offspring. Now, James has done some more genetic engineering, to create mosquitoes that can’t spread malaria…

They started with mice that were infected with the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which causes malaria. Those mice created antibodies in order to kill the parasites. The scientists identified the molecular components of this immune response, then altered the genes of the Anopheles stephensi mosquito in order to cause the same response to occur in their bodies – ordinarily, mosquitoes simply act as carriers of the parasites, exhibiting no immune response towards them.

In short, parasites picked up by the mosquitoes are killed by the insects’ altered immune systems, meaning that people subsequently bitten by those mosquitoes won’t develop malaria. Although the study was done using Anopheles stephensi, the technique could reportedly be used on dozens of different types of mosquitoes.

Unlike James’ previous efforts involving the flightless females, this approach would not actually reduce the numbers of mosquitoes present in an area. Much as many people might like the idea of the eradication of mosquitoes, this could be a good thing – it’s still unclear how the sudden elimination of a species as plentiful as the mosquito might affect ecosystems…

A significant benefit to that large portion of the world’s population that suffers from malaria. Small area controlled trials are next; but, there are lots of folks waiting for this to be a success.

Antibodies found that prevent HIV infection – and maybe more

Scientists have discovered two potent human antibodies that can stop more than 90 percent of known global HIV strains from infecting human cells in the laboratory, and have demonstrated how one of these disease-fighting proteins accomplishes this feat.

According to the scientists, these antibodies could be used to design improved HIV vaccines, or could be further developed to prevent or treat HIV infection. Moreover, the method used to find these antibodies could be applied to isolate therapeutic antibodies for other infectious diseases as well…

Led by a team from the NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC), the scientists found two naturally occurring, powerful antibodies called VRC01 and VRC02 in an HIV infected individual’s blood using a novel molecular device they developed that homes in on the specific cells that make antibodies against HIV. The device is an HIV protein that the scientists modified so it would react only with antibodies specific to the site where the virus binds to cells it infects.

The scientists found that VRC01 and VRC02 neutralize more HIV strains with greater overall strength than previously known antibodies to the virus.

The researchers also determined the atomic-level structure of VRC01 when it is attaching to HIV. This has enabled the team to define how the antibody works and to precisely locate where it attaches to the virus. With this knowledge, they have begun to design components of a candidate vaccine that could teach the human immune system to make antibodies similar to VRC01 that might prevent infection by the vast majority of HIV strains worldwide…

Kudos to the researchers who led this work. It’s now published for peer review here and here.

Yes, I will send off a note to my Congress-critters to remind them to continue funding for work like this at the NIH and our universities.

Fortunately, at least one of those representing me in Congress is bright enough to know that “protein” describes something more than BBQ. He can explain it to the rest.

Chicken antibodies may help prevent H5N1 pandemic

Scientists have discovered for the first time that antibodies in common eggs laid by hens vaccinated against the H5N1 virus can potentially prevent a possible H5N1 pandemic, raising the possibility that the same principle could be applied to the current H1N1 influenza pandemic…

“Our tests show proof-of-concept that antibodies, or the antiviral proteins ‘immunoglobulins Y (IgY),’ found in consumable eggs laid by vaccinated hens may be an affordable, safe, and effective alternative for the control of influenza outbreaks, including the current H1N1 pandemic,” said Dr. Huan Huu Nguyen, an immunologist at the IVI and the lead author of the study.

The scientists isolated H5N1-specific antibodies from consumers’ eggs sold in Vietnam, where hens are vaccinated against the pathogen, and tested them against infections with H5N1 and related H5N2 strains in mice. When delivered into the nose before infection, the antibodies from the egg yolk prevented the infection. When administered after infection, the same antibodies reduced the severity of the infection, enabling mice to recover from the disease.

The chicken antibodies could be administered as a nasal spray. This form of ‘passive vaccination’ could also be applied to prevent disease caused by the current pandemic H1N1, using egg yolk antibodies from hens vaccinated against the H1N1 virus…

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is the world’s only international organization devoted exclusively to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines for the world’s poorest people, especially children in developing countries.

Obviously part of the worldwide socialist plot against American insurance companies and Congress.

Kudos to the researchers for the many children whose lives may be saved.