Dr. Pinaki Panigrahi, center left, in India. A large clinical trial has found that babies fed a certain strain of probiotic bacteria are much less likely to develop blood infections. Credit Kallola Mishra (as seen in original article)

New York Times—How to Prevent Deadly Infection in Babies? Good Bacteria

It may be possible, scientists say, to save many thousands of newborns in poor countries by giving them a simple probiotic — a strain of bacteria originally scooped out of the diaper of a healthy baby.

A large clinical trial in rural India has found that babies fed a special strain of Lactobacillus bacteria for just one week were 40 percent less likely to develop sepsis, a life-threatening bloodstream infection.

Sepsis kills 600,000 newborns a year, many of them in India and neighboring countries.

The treatment was so successful that an oversight panel stopped the trial early because it would have been unethical to keep giving a placebo to half the babies in the study.

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