Research conducted at the Biostatistics Consulting Center suggests administration of a gut bacterium (B. infantis EVC001) to low birth weight babies could prevent necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
According to a recent article in the Journal of Pediatrics, introducing a specific strain of gut bacterium, Bifidobacterium infantis (B. infantis) EVC001 to extremely underweight newborns could help prevent them from developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious disease affecting the intestine in very low birth weight (VLBW) babies and infant mortality. Dr. Arthur Owora, Stephanie Dickinson, and Lilian Golzarri-Arroyo of the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington (IUSPH-B) Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Biostatistics Consulting Center performed statistical analysis to contribute to the findings.
In a cohort study at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), 182 very low birth weight (VLBW) infants (<1500 g) administered a B. infantis EVC001 supplement of 80-100 mL/kg/day were compared with 301 VLBW infants from a previous time-period who received no probiotic supplement.
The EVC001-fed cohort had a 73% risk reduction of NEC compared to infants in the No EVC001 cohort (11% versus 2.7%) with an adjusted risk ratio of 0.270 (95% CI 0.094, 0.614, P = 0.0054) after adjusting for sex, birth weight, gestational age at birth and mode of delivery. There was no NEC-related mortality in the EVC001-fed cohort, compared to 8 with NEC-related mortality in the comparison group, yielding a statistically significant difference (0% vs. 2.7%, P = 0.0274).
Among high-risk infants born via C-section, exposure to B. infantis EVC001 was associated with 88% lower risk of developing NEC. Dr. Owora says this information is a possible "game changer in reducing the burden of a devastating neonatal inflammatory bowel disease." He adds, "This collaborative work highlights some of the advantages of leveraging the intersection of academia and industry for drug discovery."
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