Infectious diseases cause over one third of all child deaths under age five. Could microbial antigen in breastmilk activate a newborn’s immune system, helping to build long-term protection against common and deadly infections?
Researchers believe so. Their findings are especially encouraging since existing vaccines are not always very efficient in newborns, as their immune system much differs from adults’. Vaccination via pathogen antigen shedding in breastmilk – a natural and needle-free vaccine – could be the answer, they say. Yet more investigation is needed.
“In addition to providing short-lived protection, there is evidence that microbial antigens in human milk may represent the optimal characteristics for infant mucosal immunization,” write the authors of this newly published paper in in Mucosal Immunology: Microbial antigen in human milk: a natural vaccine?
We are grateful to the researchers and proud sponsors of their work.
Care to keep current on this and related news? Sign up for our newsletter.