Monash University is working to reduce mother-to-baby transfer of HIV by 'switching off' a protein in the placenta. Mother-to-baby transmission of HIV (mainly around the time of delivery) occurred in up to 40 per cent of pregnancies unless strategies were used to minimise transfer.
Administering antiviral drugs to the mother prior to delivery can decrease the transfer of the virus to the baby. However the placenta acts as a barrier, restricting transfer of the drugs from the mother to the foetus.
Monash researchers have discovered that the transfer of antiviral drugs is restricted due to a protein 'pump' in the placental cells that separate the maternal and foetal blood.
The team is now investigating how to switch off the P-glycoprotein pump. If this can be achieved there is potential to increase the transfer of antiviral drugs to the foetus. More effective drug concentrations may result, and they should further decrease the mother-to-baby transfer of HIV.
Three million children worldwide carry HIV due to maternal transmission.
Universities like Monash are being starved of research funds. They are becoming nothing more than degree factories. If Howard can find so many millions to spend on advertising then why can't he find the same to further the kind of research that Monash is doing which would benefit the world. Where's your voice, Abbott, when this research will be good for children everywhere?