A National Institutes of Health based research would soon be initiating the testing of single-dose azithromycin in alleviating the risk associated with maternal and infant bacterial infection and death.
Azithromycin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, has been shown to protect against infection resulting from cesarean delivery. An earlier randomised controlled study conducted in the Gambia had found that administering azithromycin to pregnant women at the beginning of labour reduced maternal and infant infections.
The current study plans to include participants in low and middle-income countries due to the prevalence of sepsis-related mortality in mothers and children in these states. Sepsis-related death in mothers can result from a combination of factors, including the longer time to diagnosis, lack of access to timely drug treatment and chronic malnourishment.
The study would enroll up to 34,000 women from seven countries including Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Pakistan and Zambia.
Half of the participants would receive a single 2-gram dose of oral azithromycin, and the other half will receive a placebo. The women and their infants will be monitored for fever and other signs of infection during their hospital stay and again at one week and six weeks after giving birth.
The clinical trial would be conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s (NICHD) Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research.