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Storage-Dependent Generation of Potent Anti-ZIKV Activity in Human Breast Milk

Institute of Molecular Virology, Ulm University Medical Center, 89081 Ulm, Germany
Guangzhou Key Laboratory of Drug Research for Emerging Virus Prevention and Treatment, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, China
Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Ulm University, 89081 Ulm, Germany
Core Facility Functional Peptidomics, Ulm University Medical Center, 89081 Ulm, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Viruses 2019, 11(7), 591;
Received: 17 May 2019 / Revised: 18 June 2019 / Accepted: 27 June 2019 / Published: 28 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Zika virus (ZIKV) causes congenital neurologic birth defects, notably microcephaly, and has been associated with other serious complications in adults. The virus has been detected in human breast milk and possible transmissions via breastfeeding have been reported. Breast milk is rich in nutrients and bio-active substances that might directly affect viral infectivity. Thus, here, we analyzed the effect of human breast milk on ZIKV infection. We observed that fresh human breast milk had no effect on ZIKV, but found that upon storage, milk effectively suppressed infection. The antiviral activity is present in the fat-containing cream fraction of milk and results in the destruction of the structural integrity of viral particles, thereby abrogating infectivity. The release of the factor is time dependent but varies with donors and incubation temperatures. The viral titer of milk that was spiked with ZIKV decreased considerably upon storage at 37 °C for 8 h, was lost entirely after 2 days of 4 °C storage, but was not affected at −20 °C. This suggests that cold storage of milk inactivates ZIKV and that the antiviral factor in milk may also be generated upon breastfeeding and limit this transmission route of ZIKV. View Full-Text
Keywords: zika virus; breast milk; transmission; breastfeeding zika virus; breast milk; transmission; breastfeeding

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Conzelmann, C.; Zou, M.; Groß, R.; Harms, M.; Röcker, A.; Riedel, C.U.; Münch, J.; Müller, J.A. Storage-Dependent Generation of Potent Anti-ZIKV Activity in Human Breast Milk. Viruses 2019, 11, 591.

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