FOOD FOR KIDS: Evolve Biosystems unveils first-of-a-kind infant gut health test

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Children with low levels of Bifidobacterium are more likely to develop allergic and autoimmune conditions and to struggle with their weight, says Evolve Biosystems (Picture: Gettyimages-KonstantinAksenov)
Children with low levels of Bifidobacterium are more likely to develop allergic and autoimmune conditions and to struggle with their weight, says Evolve Biosystems (Picture: Gettyimages-KonstantinAksenov)

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Evolve BioSystems, which makes the Evivo baby probiotic, has unveiled the first successful prototype for a rapid-response infant gut microbiome screening test able to detect levels of gut bacteria believed to be critical during infancy - helping parents know whether giving their babies specific probiotics could be helpful.

The test - which requires a small stool sample collected from a diaper at-home or in a pediatrician’s office - ​measures the presence of markers such as acetate and lactate that indicate low or high levels of good Bifidobacterium​, said Evolve Biosystems​, which will be speaking at the FoodNavigator-USA FOOD FOR KIDS summit​ in Chicago in November.

While correlation is not causation, children with low levels of Bifidobacterium​ are more likely to develop allergic and autoimmune​ conditions and to struggle with their weight, says Evolve Biosystems, which is on a mission to rejuvenate the ‘dysbiotic’ American gut by recolonizing it with B. Infantis​, a substrain of Bifidobacterium​ which used to dominate the guts of babies born in developed countries, and still dominates those of babies in developing countries where allergies and autoimmune disorders are far less prevalent.

B.infantis​ crowds out pathogenic bacteria in the gut and has been shown to digest human milk oligosaccharides in breast milk that babies are otherwise incapable of processing, improving gut barrier function, reducing intestinal permeability, and downregulating gut inflammation, according to Evolve chairman Dr Kyle, who describes Evivo [B.infantis] as the “first and only clinically proven probiotic for babies.”

The new test was developed by Dr. Bethany Henrick, PhD, formerly part of the team behind the world’s fastest point-of-care HIV test in 2005.

 “This is the first and only screening test designed to identify infants that do not have enough Bifidobacterium levels to create a stable infant gut microbiome,​” said Dr Henrick.

With recent research indicating most babies born after 1980 do not acquire Bifidobacterium at birth, our ability to detect significant levels of Bifidobacterium gives pediatricians and parents an immediate indication of whether or not their baby has this beneficial gut bacteria.”

 “Currently there is no way to easily determine whether a baby is colonized with healthy bacteria​,” said Mark Underwood, M.D., Chief of Neonatology at UC Davis Medical Center.

The ability to measure levels of Bifidobacterium in a stool sample would enable pediatricians and parents to identify babies with low levels of these beneficial bacteria and take appropriate action.”

  • Read more about EvolveBiosystems HERE​.
  • Find out more about the Foodnavigator-USA FOOD FOR KIDS summit HERE​.
  • Read more about a new clinical study​ published in FEBS Open Bio​ journal that demonstrates that B. infantis​ aggressively kicks out bad bacteria and prevents holes from forming in the mucin (mucus) layer when fed to newborns.
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