Probiotics may help preterm infants

Probiotics may help preterm infants
Press Release | Nov 28. 2019 08:51 GMT

A new three-strain probiotic blend from Chr. Hansen can help support the health and development of intestines in preterm babies and has been shown to reduce risk of Necrotizing enterocolitis by 50%1

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is an inflammatory disease and is the leading cause of mortality worldwide for preterm babies.2 Experts believe that an underdeveloped or damaged intestine is the main cause of NEC, instigated by complications including lack of blood or oxygen to the intestine, injury to the intestinal lining or bacterial growth on the intestinal wall.3

A new three-strain probiotic blend by Chr. Hansen has shown to help support the intestinal tract for healthy immune and digestive function. Now launched through customer partnerships in the US and in Europe, Chr. Hansen’s new product is already being used in some neonatal intensive care units, fed to babies through a feeding tube.

“Our purpose is strong, and we are truly excited to make a difference for this vulnerable group – preterm infants. The multi-strain probiotic has been tested in two high quality clinical trials for its efficacy and safety. Using our science and technology to make a positive difference in the world is what we are in business for, which is why we are so happy to bring this first-of-its-kind solution to preterm babies,” says Andrew Scorey, senior vice president for Human Health at Chr. Hansen.

NEC affects 5% of infants born two months early4

About 1-2% of all infants are born very preterm or extremely preterm – i.e. two months or earlier than due date – which is some 2.4 million babies globally every year.5 NEC affects approximately 5% of this group and results in a mortality rate of up to 30%.4, 6

This new product contains a blend of three different probiotic strains: BB-12® Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, TH-4® Streptococcus thermophilus and Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis. This blend has been shown to help reduce the risk of NEC by up to 50%, as documented in two clinical trials including a total of more than 1,200 preterm infants born two months or earlier than due date.1, 7

“Preterm infants typically have an unbalanced intestinal microbiota making them vulnerable to infections and certain life-threatening diseases. This three-strain probiotic product with different strains and different species has been shown to provide functional advantages for the preterm population,” explains senior scientific advisor at Chr. Hansen, Ulla Holmboe Gondolf.

Strict production requirements ensure highest quality

Due to the high vulnerability of preterm infants to infections, Chr. Hansen has implemented the strictest of production processes.

“We always comply with the relevant production and quality standards for the production of all our products. In this case, we have added many more requirements on top of what is stipulated as standard to go the extra mile to ensure the highest quality, safe product for this vulnerable population,” adds Scorey.

Chr. Hansen’s extra requirements include extended contaminant testing and stricter requirements regarding both environmental monitoring and cleaning before production to eliminate the risk of contamination.

Finally, the product is packed in single use, sealed packages to help reduce the risk of contamination compared to multi-use containers.

1. Jacobs et al. Pediatrics 2013,132(6):1055-1062;
2. Cotton et al. J Perinatol 2005,25:650–655
3. Alganabi et al. F1000Research 2019,8:1-8
4. Neu & Walker. N Engl J Med 2011,364(3):255-264
5. Chawanpaiboon et al. The Lancet 2019,7:37-46
6. Fitzgibbons et al. J Pediatr Surg 2009,44(6):1072-1075
7. Bin-Nun et al. J Pediatr

Chr. Hansen is a global, differentiated bioscience company that develops natural ingredient solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. At Chr. Hansen we are uniquely positioned to drive positive change through microbial solutions. We have worked for almost 150 years to enable sustainable agriculture, better food and healthier living for more people around the world. Our microbial and fermentation technology platforms, including our broad and relevant collection of around 50,000 microbial strains, have game-changing potential. Matching customer needs and global trends we continue to unlock the power of good bacteria to respond to global challenges such as food waste, global health and the overuse of antibiotics and pesticides. As one of the world’s most sustainable companies, we touch the lives of more than 1 billion people every day. Driven by our legacy of innovation and curiosity to pioneer science, our purpose – To grow a better world. Naturally. – is at the heart of everything we do.

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