Treating young children with suspected serious bacterial infection with zinc in addition to standard antibiotics significantly reduces the likelihood of treatment failure, according to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of the Government of India.
The DBT has made great strides in the field of improving public health with biotech researches, its secretary M K Bhan told reporters today.
Zinc treatment in addition to standard antibiotics significantly reduces the likelihood of treatment failure (measured as the need for secondary antibiotic treatment within 7 days, need for intensive care, or death within 21 days), according to new research published online first in The Lancet, he said.
The study led by Dr Shinjini Bhatnagar, currently a professor at the Paediatric Biology Centre in Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), an autonomous institute supported by DBT, was conducted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The researchers reported the results of the first study to assess the efficacy of zinc given in addition to standard antibiotic therapy for probable serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis.
Young children aged between 7 and 120 days who were being treated for serious infections in three hospitals, were randomly assigned to receive either zinc (352 infants) or placebo (348) in addition to antibiotics. The results showed that children given zinc were 40 per cent less likely to experience treatment failure (as defined above) than those given placebo. Risk of death was also reduced (by 43 per cent) in the group assigned to zinc.