Sugars from human milk could help treat, prevent infections in newborns

Bacteria known as group B Streptococcus (GBS) are a common cause of blood infections, meningitis and stillbirth in newborns. Although GBS infections can often be treated or prevented with antibiotics, the bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant. Now, researchers have discovered that human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs)—short strings of sugar molecules abundant in breast milk—can help prevent GBS infections in human cells and tissues and in mice. Someday, HMOs might be able to replace antibiotics for treating infections in infants and adults, they say.

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