'Research breakthrough' on newborn blood infections

Medical researchers at the University of Utah, US, believe they have discovered why blood infections can often pose such high risks for newborn babies.

A study has found that the ability to form a a neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) – where mature white blood cells capture and kill bacteria in the human body – is lacking in newborn babies born either at term or prematurely.

Published online in the journal Blood, the study suggests that the blood infection sepsis occurs in up to 25 per cent of newborns in some areas of the world, but babies are not biologically equipped to fight it naturally.

Christian C Yost, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah and the study's lead author, said: "Neonatal neutrophil dysfunction - a term for these white blood cell abnormalities - affects many infants, because there are so many premature births across the globe."

Researchers hope the discovery of NET may pave the way for the development of new drugs to treat severe infections in newborn infants.

Sepsis can develop following infection by microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.ADNFCR-2094-ID-19087220-ADNFCR