According to news sources, lactoferrin attaches itself to virus and bacterial membranes and prevents them from attacking cells in a manner similar to most antibiotics. Unlike antibiotics, however, the protein is multifunctional and has other positive effects. Some of these include: strong antimicrobial activity, the regulation of ferric ion concentration in the blood and help in the synthesis of proteins necessary for building new cells. Lactoferrin can be found in ‘first milk’, as well as salvia, tears and blood serum.
Lactoferrin protects the baby in the first days of its life, as its own immune system is not yet developed. A mother’s milk contains the needed protein, and it is a mandatory component of infant formulas. The one problem surrounding lactoferrin until now was a finding away to mass-produce it. Russian and Belarusian genetic scientists think they have found the solution.
The technology was successfully tested on mice before the human lactoferrin gene was planted into goats. The first two transgenic males were born in Russia in 2007, and their sperm was used to inseminate one hundred females. That next generation expected to be born this coming summer, will determine whether their milk contains human lactoferrin and how much. Similar projects are being carried out in the Netherlands and in China.
Genetic engineering may well be the wave of the future and the solution to many health-related problems in Russia and throughout the world.
But what else could it bring on its unbridled wings?
Only time will tell.