World Sepsis Day September 13, 2020

Hannele Kettunen, R & D Manager

Sepsis refers to the severe, life-threatening systemic response of a dysregulated immune system to a bacterial infection. If not quickly treated with effective antimicrobials, sepsis most often leads into shock, multi-organ failure and death. Sepsis threatens especially newborns and the elderly, but also poses a risk to women around childbirth. With the antibiotic resistance crisis, sepsis may become an increasing problem for other patient groups as well. 

The global occurrence of sepsis is not evenly distributed, as the cases are much more common in low and middle income countries than in wealthy societies. It has been estimated that the 48.9 million sepsis cases per year result into  11 million deaths which is about 20% of all deaths in the world. Although the exact global burden of this often underdiagnosed condition is not known, the estimated numbers are massive and highlight the need for collaboration for reducing the impact of sepsis in future decades.

On September 9th, the World Health Organization WHO and the Global Sepsis Alliance GSA arranged an online congress with the title of “WSC Spotlight: Sepsis, Pandemics and Antimicrobial resistance – Global Health Threats of the 21th Century”. The thirty excellent presentations in six sessions were streamed to an audience of 900 persons from 178 countries. Opens external link in new windowRecordings of the sessions will be released for free, starting with the release of the opening session on 15th September.

The congress called for functioning antimicrobials for sepsis patients. Antimicrobial resistance is an increasing problem, and the current Covid-19 pandemic is escalating the problem both because bacterial infections sometimes follow Covid-19 infection, and because many critical care patients have been treated with antibiotics even in the absence of bacterial infection. The development of new antibiotics is not intensive enough to guarantee a permanent solution for the problem.

Read the blog: Opens internal link in current windowAntibiotic resistance could lead to more COVID-19 deaths

As pointed out during the congress, global health is multifactorial, so a bigger picture needs to be seen. According to the One Health concept, the health of people, animals and environment are all interrelated. The food chain is a critical part of human health, and it is a fact that the farm animal industry holds part of the responsibility for the global sepsis burden.

It cannot be overlooked that the majority of the antibiotics is still fed to farm animals rather than humans. The global farm animal industry needs to find ways for better management and biosecurity of farms, in order to minimize the pathogen pressure on animals. Eventually it also needs to stop treating animals with antibiotics that are important in human medicine. This is ever more important with the growing population size of the world.

We at Hankkija FFI have answered to this call. We recognize that gastrointestinal functions and well-being are key to animal performance, and that the disease-resistance of animals can be improved by dietary means. Our feed innovations, such as the rosin-based Progres® and the yeast hydrolysate Progut® support the immune system of animals and reduce the pathogen burden, thus decreasing the risk of bacterial infections and inflammatory processes. We have conducted extensive research programs to document and scientifically publish mechanism of action of these products. In addition, several novel product candidates are being designed and tested in the R&D pipeline in order to increasing our gut health supporting product portfolio for the coming years.