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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNMC Study Shows Probiotics Prevent Sepsis in Infants

[Photo: Dr.  Pinaki Panigrahi, monitors a baby’s progress in a clinical trial in India.]

A research team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health has determined that a special mixture of good bacteria in the body reduced the incidence of sepsis in infants in India by 40 percent at a cost of only one dollar per infant. The findings are reported in this week’s issue of the journal Nature.

Dr. Pinaki Panigrahi, professor in epidemiology and pediatrics and director at the center for global health and development, and his colleagues at UNMC, led the international research team. The results reflect a culmination of 15 years of research and could seriously impact infant health worldwide.

The special mixture included a probiotic called Lactobacillus plantarum ATCC-202195 combined with fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS), an oral synbiotic preparation developed by Dr. Panigrahi.

A separate article on Dr. Panigrahi’s study, written by Dr. Tancredi, pediatrics and the center for healthcare policy and research, University of California, Davis, was published in Nature’s News and Views section.

The probiotic formula could be a “very cheap oral sepsis vaccine,” Dr. Panigrahi said.

Few trials on the use of probiotics to prevent sepsis have focused on newborns, whose largely naive immune system and less complex intestinal environment would allow the probiotic to grow.

“We were concerned when the data safety and monitoring board stopped the study prematurely. We had enrolled just about half of our proposed subjects. Typically, a study is stopped when something is wrong.

“But, it was a moment of superlative thrill when we learned it was stopped due to early efficacy. We were surprised a second time when the complete data analysis showed that respiratory tract infections also were reduced — something we did not anticipate in our population,” Dr. Panigrahi said.

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