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Reuters Health Information (2009-01-05): Maternal neutralizing antibodies don't prevent hepatitis C virus transmission to infants

Clinical

Maternal neutralizing antibodies don't prevent hepatitis C virus transmission to infants

Last Updated: 2009-01-05 17:04:08 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In women co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C virus, levels of neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) to hepatitis C do not appear to have any direct relationship with the risk of mother-to-child transmission, researchers report in the December 1st issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

"Neutralizing antibodies can prevent viral infections," senior investigator Dr. Stuart C. Ray told Reuters Health. "We found very low levels of nAbs to hepatitis C virus in women with HIV and hepatitis C virus infection at the time of childbirth, but among these women we did not find that the level of nAb predicted hepatitis C virus transmission to the newborn."

Dr. Ray of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, and colleagues came to this conclusion after studying 63 mothers with hepatitis C virus and HIV co-infection.

Sixteen women transmitted hepatitis C virus to their infant, but no difference was detected between the ability of maternal plasma from transmitters and nontransmitters to neutralize heterologous hepatitis C virus pseudoparticles.

The investigators conclude that there was "no evidence that hepatitis C virus nAbs are associated with the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis C virus."

However, added Dr. Ray, "it is not yet known whether protection might be provided by higher levels of nAbs, such as those that are generally found in HIV-negative women who have hepatitis C virus -- who rarely transmit hepatitis C virus to their newborns."

J Infect Dis 2008;198:1851-1855.

 
 
 
 
                 
 
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