Health Nature’s nurse: How mother’s milk guards against malaria

Nature’s nurse: How mother’s milk guards against malaria

Thousands of infant deaths could be prevented each year after the discovery a natural way to inoculate against one of the world’s most deadly  diseases.

New research has found some women may be able to naturally vaccinate their babies against malaria by passing on life-saving antigens through breastfeeding.

With children under five accounting for two-thirds of malaria deaths worldwide, The University of Western Australia (UWA) research could drastically improve infant mortality rates across the globe.

The team studied breastmilk samples of women in Uganda and found 15 per cent of those carrying the malaria parasites were passing on antigens against the disease to their babies.

UWA’s Professor Valerie Verhasselt said further research would examine the best way to transfer the initial findings into public health programs.

“We could then propose to vaccinate breastfeeding mothers to increase levels of malaria antigen in breastmilk, ensuring vaccination and long-term protection of their child,” she said.

This is just one example of the life-saving research conducted at Australia’s universities. Show your support for keeping Australia clever by signing the petition below.