New Delhi: Zinc, which is essential for normal growth and development of infants and children, has now found to be a wonder cure for kids suffering from serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia and meningitis, according to a new study carried out in Delhi hospitals.
The study, which was conducted at three hospitals AIIMS, Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in Delhi, and published in the British medical journal The Lancet shows that 43 percent reduction in death among babies suffering from bacterial sepsis when zinc is administered along with standard antibiotics
The new line of treatment could have huge implications for India’s infant mortality rate (IMR) figures.
"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," explains Shinjini Bhatnagar who led the research.
Christa Fischer Walker and Robert Black from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA say, "This finding is important because case fatality is high in infants presenting with symptoms of probable serious bacterial infection". They added, "The exact mechanism for the effect of supplemental zinc is unknown and needs further investigation, but the clinical benefits in diarrhoea and pneumonia in children younger than 5 years suggest that therapeutic use of zinc could have wide application.
Researchers said, the three-year study involving over 600 children aged between seven and 120 days, is also the first to assess the efficacy of zinc given in addition to standard antibiotic therapy for suspected serious bacterial infections. Zinc is found in meat, eggs, nuts, cheese, oysters and grains.