'Zinc supplements can cut treatment failure risks in kids'
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Giving zinc supplements along with antibiotics can significantly reduce the likelihood of treatment failure in babies with serious infections such as pneumonia and meningitis, according to a new study carried out in Delhi hospitals.
The three-year research involving over 600 children aged between seven and 120 days found that those who were given 10mg of zinc supplement daily with antibiotics for infections were 40 per cent less likely to suffer treatment failure compared to the babies who didn't receive the zinc doses.
The study, published in The Lancet, was conducted between July 2005 and December 2008 at three hospitals – Kalawati Saran Children's Hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital and All India Institute of Medical Sciences -- in Delhi.
"Zinc is an accessible, low-cost intervention that could add to the effect of antibiotic treatment and lead to substantial reductions in infant mortality, particularly in developing countries where millions of children die from serious infections every year," said lead study author Prof Shinjini Bhatnagar from the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute in Haryana.
Infections were responsible for nearly two-thirds of deaths in children under 5 in 2010, with around two-fifths of deaths occurring within the first month of life.
This study is the first to assess the efficacy of zinc given in addition to standard antibiotic therapy for suspected serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis, the researchers said.
In the study, the doctors gave 10mg of zinc with standard antibiotics to 352 babies, while another group of 348 were given placebo daily. The results showed that children given zinc were 40 per cent less likely to experience treatment failure than those given placebo.
There were also 34 treatment failures in the children who received zinc, but it was much less than the failures in kids given placebo, the researchers said.
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