Scientists in the US have developed an inexpensive technique that helps prevent sepsis – a life-threatening illness caused by the body’s response to an infection.
In sepsis, the immune system goes into overdrive in response to the infection causing inflammation throughout the entire body instead. Severe cases of sepsis can lead to septic shock, which is a medical emergency, and could even cause deaths. Sepsis kills around 60,000 kids around the world every year.
The illness can be treated with antibiotics and intravenous fluids and resolves within days to weeks, however, prevention is definitely the best cure. Dr Pinaki Panigrahi, who is working as a pediatrician in America, had been heading a research on the subject for the last 20 years to find out the probiotic bacteria, common in kimchi, pickles and other fermented vegetables, that could be a life saving solution to this medical problem in newborns, a National Public Radio (NPR) report said.
Quoting the Odia doctor, the NPR reported, once a baby is affected, all of a sudden it stops being active, crying and breastfeeding. The growth of the sepsis germs is so fast that by the time the baby is brought to the hospital, he or she dies.
“In hospitals in India, you see so many babies dying of sepsis, it breaks your heart,” Mr Panigrahi said. “Methodically, we screened more than 280 strains in preliminary animal and human studies,” the doctor adds.
In the end, the team of doctors found a strain of Lactobacillus plantarum isolated from the diaper of a healthy Indian baby and decided to move forward with a large scale study comprising thousands of babies in rural India. To their astonishment, the bacteria worked well beyond imagination, the NPR report cited.
The finding further stated that babies who ate the microbes for a week along with some sugars to feed the microbes had a dramatic reduction in risk of death and sepsis. They dropped by 40 percent, from 9 percent to 5.4 percent.
Reports indicate probiotic also warded off several other types of infections, including those in the lungs.