Scientists discover new therapy to prevent sepsis in new born babies

A team of scientists from US have discovered an inexpensive prevention technique (therapy) against sepsis in new born babies. The team was led by US-based Indian doctor Dr Pinaki Panigrahi.
The therapy has been found to reduce the risk of sepsis infection by 40% in trials and it can be inexpensive – less than one dollar for a course.


Each year globally, more than 600,000 infants die of sepsis most of them in developing countries. In India, more than a quarter of neonatal deaths are due to sepsis. In a significant number of these cases, the infection probably begins in the gut.

New prevention technique

In the new oral prevention technique, infants are fed with good bacteria (probiotic bacteria) that populates in his/her gut and block (kill) harmful bacteria. The probiotic bacterial strain is also aided with a non-absorbable sugar to enhance its ability to effectively colonize the gut.
Researchers call it as probiotic-sugar combination, a symbiotic. The oral therapy starts during day 2-4 of life, as a preventive measure, much like a vaccine. The technique is also found beneficial in reducing lower respiratory tract and other infections and also improving immunity status.


Sepsis is a life-threatening illness primarily caused by bacterial infections that spreads fast through the blood leading to organ failure. It is caused by an immune response triggered by an infection i.e. body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs. Sepsis infections are also more common in elderly people and those with a weak immune system.
Common signs and symptoms include fever, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and confusion. There also may be symptoms related to a specific infection, such as pneumonia, kidney infection blood infection and abdominal infection. Currently, no efficient means of prevention is available.