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HIV Antibodies on Babies Born From Mothers With HIV

Mar 24, 2013

Hi, doc.

I read your response on the question entitled "Baby Cured of HIV?" from someone living in Africa.

So... you mentioned that if a mother is HIV+, when she gives birth, the HIV antibodies are passed on to the baby. I'm not in the medical field at all but I find this really interesting.

If in case the baby does not get infected during birth and antibodies have been passed to him/her, will this mean that the first time he/she is infected, these antibodies are ready to fight off the infection? Will this work pretty much like vaccines? Or perhaps, if not totally fight off the ifection and make the person immune, turn the person into an elite controller?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Great question. These antibodies do not persist after the first year of life. Therefore, there is no long term immunity or protection against HIV that is established in the child. These antibodies develop in the mother in reaction to infection. However, they are not completely effective in neutralizing the viral infection, as chronic infection always develops despite the presence of these antibodies. If the antibodies that developed as a result of infection could neutralize the virus, then chronic HIV infection would not develop.

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