Non-antibiotic sepsis-fighting drug could save millions of lives

| | November 29, 2017
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The state of Odisha (formerly Orissa) in southeast India is perhaps not the first place you’d expect to find a clinical trial for a next-generation drug with the potential to save half a billion lives.

[T]he Odisha study’s recent results point to a non-antibiotic, affordable treatment that can reduce newborn deaths caused by sepsis by an astonishing 40 percent.

This treatment is a concoction of live, “helpful” bacteria (called probiotics) and a plant-derived sugar (called a prebiotic) that serves as a nutrient source for these bacteria to feed upon. For this study, a team of Indian and American researchers used this synbiotic formulation to treat newborns, and found that the treatment lowered the occurrence of a variety of illnesses: three kinds of sepsis, diarrhea, and infections of the umbilical stump.

While reductions in these diseases were expected, even the researchers were surprised to find that feeding live bacteria to infants also reduced their chance of acquiring pneumonia.

The Odisha study stands out, however, for two reasons. It is the first study to report such positive results in full-term newborns. This expands the patient range for probiotics well beyond premature births to a much larger proportion of the global population. More importantly, it serves as a model for future studies into diseases that especially burden low-income countries and regions.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Scientists are recruiting live bacteria to fight deadly infections

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