Rhinovirus Infections and Probiotics Supplementation in Preterm Infants

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Raakel Luoto, MD
Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Luoto: Firstly, we found a significantly lower incidence of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in infants receiving specific prebiotics or probiotics compared to those receiving placebo. Also, the incidence of rhinovirus –induced episodes, comprising 80% of all RTI episodes, was found to be significantly lower both in the prebiotic and in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group. Secondly, neither of interventions was found to have an impact on the duration or severity of RTIs.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Luoto: Actually the impact of both prebiotic and probiotic supplementation in the incidence of RTIs was better than our study team did expect.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Luoto: Based on our results, gut microbiota modulation with specific pre- and/or probiotics could offer a cost-effective tool in the fight against RTIs, which are a major cause of mortality and morbidity particularly during the first years of life. Preterm infants carry a heightened risk of infectious ailments, of both bacterial and viral causes. Although strict hygienic measures have been shown to reduce viral transmission and thus to diminish the incidence of RTIs, no definitive preventive measures have thus far been discovered for the effective control of this entity.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Luoto: Most importantly, more investigations and clinical studies are needed to evaluate the impact of gut microbiota modulation on nonintestinal infections. Further studies should also repeat our results with larger study population.  Additionally, the exact mechanisms behind such an effect need to be elucidated in the future.


Prebiotic and probiotic supplementation prevents rhinovirus infections in preterm infants: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

Luoto R, Ruuskanen O, Waris M, Kalliomäki M, Salminen S, Isolauri E.

Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013 Oct 13. pii: S0091-6749(13)01307-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2013.08.020. [Epub ahead of print


Last Updated on November 25, 2013 by Marie Benz MD FAAD