Study by a Toronto Children’s hospital will focus on the link between the microbiome and severe infections in infants in developing countries
DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences has agreed to provide clinical trial probiotic and prebiotic products to the Centre for Global Child Health at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto. These products will be used for the hospital’s research on the effects of probiotics on sepsis in infants.
DuPont was selected by scientists at SickKids to provide probiotics for a new, large-scale research study in Bangladesh, which will focus on the microbiome and severe infections in infants.
It is estimated that nearly 3 million newborns and 1.2 million children suffer from sepsis globally each year, with limited effective forms of prevention currently available. This research is aiming to contribute to rectifying this.
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 Nutrition & Biosciences. “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.”
DuPont will also offer its scientific expertise with a comprehensive analysis of the safety and characteristics of the probiotic strain to be used in the clinical study. In addition, DuPont will 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.
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.
That 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 also suggested a potential beneficial effect on the development of infants’ immune systems. This same probiotic strain also has been demonstrated to increase the colonisation of beneficial bacteria in infants.