Health

New South African approach to protecting babies from AIDS

Chitra Pathak and Julie Clayton A new approach to protecting newborn babies against HIV infection in KwaZulu-Natal is causing widespread excitement abroad, and could soon enter clinical trials. It involves injecting babies with laboratory-made antibodies against the virus. Compared with the current practice of giving protective drugs to both a woman and her child, the new technique might enable women with the incurable Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to continue breastfeeding without transmitting the virus to their babies.

Genetically altered tobacco fights cervical cancer

Nozipho Mthembu Scientists at UCT are using genetically altered tobacco plants to create vaccines against cervical cancer. They aim to create vaccines that fight the virus not the wallet. Read how. Rows of bright green, leafy tobacco plants grow in a humid greenhouse. They look identical but one row is special. These are genetically altered tobacco plants, carrying the shell of the human papilloma virus which causes cervical cancer in women.

Deep vein thrombrosis and flying: check your genes not your class

Black Africans are at no risk of deep vein thrombosis, the so-called Economy Class Syndrome blamed for life-threatening blood clots in long-distance airplane passengers. According to Professor Barry Jacobson of South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand, genetics is to blame rather than cramped conditions in jumbo jets. People of white and Indian descent may carry a genetic predisposition to this type of blood clotting. Black Africans are at absolutely no risk.

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