Combination of probiotics and zinc improves infants' immune response to oral vaccine: RCT

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Oral rotavirus vaccines have lower efficacy and immunogenicity when given to children in India. ©iStock
Oral rotavirus vaccines have lower efficacy and immunogenicity when given to children in India. ©iStock

Related tags Immune system

Combined probiotic and zinc supplementation was found to benefit infants who had been orally administered the rotavirus vaccine Rotarix, said researchers in India.

Rotavirus diarrhoea is a major cause of infant and child mortality, especially in India. However, like most other oral vaccines, oral rotavirus vaccines have lower efficacy and immunogenicity when given to children in developing countries, compared to those in developed countries.

Furthermore, the intestinal microbiota — which could be vital to the adaptive immune response to live oral vaccination — may be compromised in children in developing countries due to widespread faecal contamination, pathogen infection, frequent antibiotic intake, or malnutrition.

These factors are thought to affect oral vaccine immunogenicity, and probiotics could positively alter the intestinal microbiota and improve immune response to oral vaccines.

In addition, zinc deficiency is pervasive among Indian children, thereby affecting adaptive immune system function.

Based on this, an RCT led by researchers from the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India was conducted to determine the effect of probiotic and zinc supplementation on infants' immune response to Rotarix.

Infant investigation

The researchers enrolled 620 infants aged between five and six weeks — each weighing at least 3.2kg — in the study, dividing them into four groups: one supplemented with zinc and a probiotic (1010 Lactobacillus rhamnosus ​GG)​, one given a probiotic supplement and zinc placebo, one given a probiotic placebo and zinc supplement, and the last given probiotic and zinc placebos.

They were administered Rotarix at six and 10 weeks of age and given their respective supplements and placebos. They were also administered the trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) at birth and six, 10 and 14 weeks of age.

The researchers then observed "modest improvement"​ in the immunogenicity of Rotarix among those who had received probiotic supplementation.

They said that even small improvements in immunogenicity to oral rotavirus vaccines "may translate into higher efficacy"​, which could have an effect on vaccine impact in countries with a high disease burden.

The infants who had received zinc but not probiotic supplementation, on the other hand, showed no improvement whatsoever:"Provision of zinc alone did not improve rotavirus vaccine immunogenicity, and there was no significant interaction between zinc and probiotics in their association with seroconversion."

It added that probiotic supplementation did not alter the diversity or broader composition of the infants' bacterial microbiota.

The researchers concluded: "(The) modest effect of combined supplementation deserves further investigation."


Source: Vaccine

"The effect of probiotics and zinc supplementation on the immune response to oral rotavirus vaccine: A randomized, factorial design, placebo-controlled study among Indian infants"

Authors: Robin P. Lazarus, et al.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Uncover the Potential of Kombucha in APAC

Uncover the Potential of Kombucha in APAC

Content provided by Lumina Intelligence | 02-Aug-2023 | White Paper

The paper explores consumer engagement in the APAC region concerning Kombucha products and probiotic juices, along with the factors that drive this engagement.

Full Vegan Protein Ingredients Solution

Full Vegan Protein Ingredients Solution

Content provided by Ingredients4u AG | 24-Jul-2023 | Product Brochure

Plant-based products have always been a hot topic in the market, the plant-based food market was valued at $29.4 billion in 2020.

Customize probiotics, optimize success

Customize probiotics, optimize success

Content provided by SYNBIO TECH INC. | 24-Jul-2023 | White Paper

As a product developer, all you want to do is to meet your customers' needs by customizing probiotic offering. However, probiotics are delicate live...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more


Nutra Champions Podcast

Nutra Champions Podcast