New research led by Assistant professor Lynn, Australian EMBL Australian group leader and his team found that Antibiotic exposure in early life leads to an impaired response to five common vaccines in Infants. Earlier Antibiotics were prescribed until and unless the condition of the patient deteriorated. But now, Antibiotics have been prescribed even for regular diseases and has led to the development of Antibiotic resistance or Superbugs. Although there has been active research to counteract superbugs, nonetheless the current research reminds us of the negative implications of the use of Antibiotics.
The current research has been confirmed only in animal models. The research found that mice exposed to antibiotics displayed delayed immune response to five common vaccines for various diseases like meningitis, Pneumonia, tuberculosis and whooping cough. The researchers hypothesised that the disruption of gut microbiome by Antibiotics is the reason behind the impaired immune response to vaccines. To test the authenticity of the hypothesis, the researchers transferred faecal microbiota from untreated mice to the mice exposed to antibiotics. The team observed enhanced immune response to the vaccine in antibiotic-treated mice after the restoration of the bacterial diversity in the gut.
However, the scenario is quite different in adult mice and there was no variation in the immune response to vaccines in untreated mice and the ones that are exposed to Antibiotics. So, it indicates that the Antibiotic damage is more significant in infants than in adults. The team has already started a clinal study in infants at women’s and children’s hospital in Adelaide to check whether the same phenomenon is applicable to human subjects. Future research would involve studying the role of the gut microbiome in vaccine response and check whether supplements can be administered to infants following Antibiotic exposure.
The current research adds impetus to the growing concerns on the excessive use of Antibiotics and recommends for safe utilisation of Antibiotics. The research also unveils the importance to strengthen the gut microbiome either by medications, probiotics or any other source. The Research study is published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.