07 Aug C. difficile Exposure During Infancy May Protect Against Later Infections
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Larry K. Kociolek, MD MSCI
Attending Physician, Division of Infectious Diseases,
Associate Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control,
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile colonization is very common among infants, yet infants almost never develop symptoms of infection. In adults, it is known that immunity against the toxins that C. difficile produces protect against C. difficile infection (CDI).
Our goal was to determine whether or not infants who become colonized with C. difficile develop an immune response against these toxins. We collected stool from healthy infants at multiple time points during the first year of life to determine whether or not they became colonized with C. difficile. Then at 9-12 months old, we collected blood to see if we can identify antibodies in their blood that protect against these toxins.
We discovered that colonization with C. difficile during infancy was strongly associated with the development of antibodies. These antibodies were able to protect against the harmful effects of these toxins in a laboratory cell culture model.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Our study provides evidence that infant exposure to C. difficile may be beneficial by protecting against C. difficile later in life.
Our next objective for future studies is to better understand the extent and duration of protection provided by this immune response. This knowledge would guide our understanding of the potential feasibility of vaccinating children against C. difficile. There is currently a vaccine entering phase 3 clinical trials in adults.
Disclosures: Larry Kociolek is a scientific advisor for Synthetic Biologics, has received research supplies from Alere, and has received research grants from Merck and Cubist.
Larry K Kociolek, Robyn O Espinosa, Dale N Gerding, Alan R Hauser, Egon A Ozer, Maria Budz, Aakash Balaji, Xinhua Chen, Robert R Tanz, Nazli Yalcinkaya, Margaret E Conner, Tor Savidge, Ciaran P Kelly, Natural Clostridioides difficile toxin immunization in colonized infants, Clinical Infectious Diseases, , ciz582, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciz582
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