Efficacy of Probiotic Bacterial Strains Against Rotavirus in vitro and Treatment of Viral Gastroenteritis in Young Children

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Efficacy of Probiotics Against Rotavirus Infection and Duration of Diarrhoea in Young Children

Around 70% paediatric gastroenteritis cases associate viruses as the causative agents, with rotaviral gastroenteritis accounting for more than 450,000 annual deaths worldwide among children aged <5 years. Evidence suggests that specific probiotic strains have beneficial properties against enteric pathogens, enhance immunity and provide diarrhoeal prophylaxis. This in vitro study published in Clinics and Research in Hepatology and Gastroenterology investigated the efficacy of specific probiotic strains against rotavirus for treating viral gastroenteritis in young children.

The antiviral efficacy of probiotic strains against rotavirus was assessed in vitro in the Vero cell line using a plaque reduction assay. Various probiotic strains exhibiting high antiviral activity were selected for further clinical trials. In this double-blind trial, paediatric patients aged between three months and seven years (n=29) presenting with viral gastroenteritis symptoms were randomised to receive either a supplement containing six probiotic strains (Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum and Pediococcus pentosaceus) at a concentration of 109 colony forming units (CFU)/g (n=13) or placebo (n=16) twice-daily for a week. Assessment of symptoms (diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever) and detection of rotavirus in stool were conducted at baseline and the end of the one-week treatment period.

As per study findings, B. longum isolated from an infant had the greatest inhibitory effect, followed by L. acidophilus. The duration of diarrhoea was shortened significantly in the probiotics group (6.1±0.5) with no adverse events compared to the placebo group (7.2±1.9). In nine patients detected with rotavirus, the duration of diarrhoea and vomiting was significantly shorter in the probiotics group compared to the placebo group.

The study concluded that specific probiotic strains such as B. longum and L. acidophilus can be used for treating acute rotaviral gastroenteritis and can serve as an alternative therapy.

News Source: Lee D, Park J, Kim M, et al. Probiotic bacteria, B. longum and L. acidophilus inhibit infection by rotavirus in vitro and decrease the duration of diarrhea in pediatric patients. Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol. 2015;39(2):237–244.