US-based Indian doctor discovers new way to prevent sepsis in newborn babies

Aug 22, 2017 10:38 IST

A team of scientists headed by Dr Pinaki Panigrahi has discovered an inexpensive prevention technique against Sepsis. He along with members of his team has found that feeding babies with probiotic bacteria dramatically reduces the risk of sepsis in newborns.

Probiotic bacteria - live bacteria and yeasts - are common in kimchi, pickles and other fermented vegetables. They are good for health, especially for digestive system.

This is a breakthrough study and going to be an inexpensive treatment that could possibly save hundreds of thousands of newborns from a top killer- sepsis.

Dr Pinaki Panigrahi is a paediatrician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health. As per reports, Dr Panigrahi, who has been heading a research on the subject for last 15 years, says that under sepsis, the baby stops being active and stops crying and breastfeeding.

The finding of the study was reported in the 16 August 2017 issue of the journal Nature.

“The team at University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health has determined a special mixture of good bacteria that reduced the incidence of sepsis in infants in India by 40 per cent at a cost of only $1 per infant”, Science Daily report said.  It also says that “the special mixture included a probiotic called Lactobacillus plantarum ATCC-202195 combined with fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS), an oral synbiotic preparation developed by Dr Panigrahi.”

About the study

The study that was conducted on more than 4500 newborns (who were at least 2000 g at birth and with at least 35 weeks of gestation) from 149 villages of Odisha was funded by the National Institutes of Health. During the study, which was the largest clinical trial of probiotics in newborns (as reported), children were monitored for their first 60 days, the most critical period they get sick and die. Reports suggest that during the first days of life, the newborns were administered the oral preparation for seven days.

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The results showed a significant reduction in the primary outcome (combination of sepsis and death) in the treatment arm. Significant reductions were also observed for culture-positive and culture-negative sepsis and lower respiratory tract infections.

These findings suggest that a large proportion of neonatal sepsis in developing countries could be effectively prevented using a synbiotic containing L. plantarum ATCC-202195.

About sepsis

Also known as "blood infection," sepsis is a global healthcare problem that is more common than heart attack and claims more lives than any cancer. In the least developed countries, it is a leading cause of death.

In the developing world, sepsis accounts for 40 percent of all neonatal lives lost per year and more than 100000 women contract sepsis in the course of pregnancy and childbirth.

In children and adults, sepsis occurs when the body's attempt to fight an infection results in the immune system damaging tissues and organs. This chaotic response, designed to protect us, causes widespread inflammation, leaky blood vessels and abnormal blood clotting resulting in organ damage. In severe cases, blood pressure drops, multiple organ failures ensue and the patient can die rapidly from septic shock.

Sepsis

Sepsis is a life-threatening illness that is caused by the body’s response to an infection. In this case, the immune system that protects a person from many illness and infections go into overdrive in response to an infection. In short, Sepsis is caused by an immune response triggered by an infection

Reports suggest that in early infancy it results in one million annual deaths worldwide, most of them in developing countries. No efficient means of prevention is currently available.

Sepsis is primarily caused by bacterial infections. While other infections can trigger sepsis further, it is mainly caused by infections like pneumonia, kidney infection blood infection and abdominal infection. Sepsis infections are more common in elderly people and those with a weak immune system.

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DISCLAIMER: JPL and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

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