Dutch researchers say that pasteurizing and freezing breast milk from women who have been infected with COVID-19 may provide antibodies to others. They found coronavirus antibodies in the breast milk of 30 women recovering from the disease, and said that freezing the milk into flavored ice cubes may help the most vulnerable people in case of a second wave of the virus.
According to the Daily Mail, sucking on an ice cube helps antibodies latch on to mucosal tissue in the mouth and airways to prevent the virus from traveling through the body. According to the University of California San Diego Health, Chinese researchers have had success in treating COVID-19 patients with blood plasma from recovered patients. Convalescent plasma, as it’s called, is also rich in antibodies.
According to Kaiser Health News, the century-old treatment therapy uses plasma taken from those who have recovered from a viral infection and injects them into those who are still suffering. The practice was first used to combat the 1918 flu epidemic and has since been used to treat victims of Ebola, SARS and H1N1 influenza.
While the Dutch team admitted that using breast milk to treat COVID-19 patients is a “strange picture,” according to the Daily Mail, if it helps contain the virus, it’s worth investigating. Thousands of women have already donated their breast milk for further research.
Lead researcher Dr. Britt Van Keulen says that sucking on ice cubes works better than drinking the milk. “When you drink it, it disappears quickly. Our idea is to give it in the form of ice cubes, so it takes a little longer, there is longer contact with the mucous membranes.”
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