DuPont provides probiotics and expertise for sepsis research

Study to see if a precise probiotic/prebiotic combination can impact an infant’s developing microbiome to reduce the incidence of sepsis

It is estimated that nearly three million newborns and 1.2 million children suffer from sepsis globally each year, with limited effective forms of prevention currently available. To help combat this, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences will provide clinical trial probiotic and prebiotic products to the Centre for research on the effects of probiotics on sepsis in infants.

DuPont was selected by scientists at the Global Child Health at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto to provide probiotics for a new, large-scale research study in Bangladesh. The study will focus on the microbiome and severe infections in infants.

The research is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and will be conducted in collaboration with the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh and the Child Health Research Foundation, both based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

“Sepsis continues to be a leading cause of newborn deaths, with infants in developing countries being disproportionately impacted,” said Matthias Heinzel, President of DuPont. “The current body of research shows that a probiotic/prebiotic blend is associated with a significant reduction in sepsis in infants, which is why we’re excited to supply them for this study.”

Lending a hand

DuPont will offer its scientific expertise with a comprehensive analysis of the safety and characteristics of the probiotic strain used in the clinical study.

The company will also develop a validated molecular method for specific detection of the strain. This will support clinical research aimed at determining if a precise probiotic/prebiotic combination can effectively colonise an infant’s developing microbiome, reduce the incidence of sepsis, and improve other health outcomes in early life.

Research precedent

The study comes in the wake of a previous clinical trial in rural India, the largest infant trial to date, which showed promise in reducing the risk of neonatal sepsis using the same combination of probiotic and prebiotic.

The Indian trial, which did not involve DuPont or investigators from SickKids or its collaborators, also showed a significant reduction in lower respiratory tract infections. The findings suggested a potential beneficial effect on the development of infants’ immune systems.

The same probiotic strain as in the Indian trial has also been demonstrated to increase colonisation of beneficial bacteria in infants.

“We are honoured to be able to provide our probiotic expertise for this important research,” said Buffy Stahl, Global Business Development Leader at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences, Probiotics. “This nutritional intervention holds great potential for supporting health in some of the most vulnerable people of all – babies.”

DuPont is committed to sustainability efforts in alignment with and support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This latest initiative with SickKids supports SDG 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages.

The goal aims to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age, more specifically to reduce neonatal mortality to 12 per 1,000 live births or lower and mortality of children under five to 25 per 1,000 live births or lower by 2030.