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Alessandro Bucci

Alessandro Bucci

ASUR- AV2 Senigallia, Italy

Title: The Use of Oral Probiotics in the Prevention of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections


Biography: Alessandro Bucci


At the start of the 20th century (in 1908), Russian noble prize winner and father of modern immunology, E. Metchnikoff, a scientist at the Pasteur institute, observed that a surprising number of people in Bulgaria lived more than 100 years. Metchnikoff observed that Bulgarian peasants consumed large quantities of “yogurt”. He subsequently isolated bacteria from the yogurt and determined that they conferred the observed health-promoting benefits. The clinical evidence for application of the interfering ability of non-virulent bacteria to prevent or treat infections has been rather limited, although promising for certain purposes. Bacterial interference refers to the antagonism between bacterial species during the process of surface colonisation and acquisition of nutrients. Conventionally, probiotics, defined by the WHO as ‘live organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’, have almost exclusively been bacteria of intestinal origin, and their application has largely been targeted at relieving maladies of the gastrointestinal tract. A number of relevant preliminary trials suggest that in the upper respiratory tract the rate of recurrence of streptococcal pharyngotonsillitis appears to decrease using selected bacteria with inhibitory ability against common pathogens of upper respiratory tract. Sore throat is one of the most common reasons for visits to family physicians or paediatrician. URTIs are very common and cause substantial illness and billions of dollars of economic loss every year. Streptococcus pyogenes is a major cause of acute pharyngeal infections, especially in children. Oral probiotic as Streptococcus salivarius K12 has been shown clearly to antagonize the growth of Streptococcus pyogenes, the most important bacterial cause of pharyngeal infections in humans, by releasing two bacteriocins named salivaricin A2 and salivaricin B, reducing the incidence of streptococcal pharyngitis and/or tonsillitis. According to our reviews of the literature and our experience prophylactic administration of Streptococcus salivarius K12 to adults and/or children having a history of recurrent oral streptococcal pathology reduces the number of episodes of streptococcal pharyngeal infections and/or tonsillitis.