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Can Lactoferrin Correct Iron Deficiency in Pregnancy More Effectively Than Iron Supplements to Prevent Low Birthweight, Preterm Birth and Potentially Improve Neonatal Survival?

Lactoferrin, a safe, naturally occurring iron-binding protein found in high concentration in breast milk, offers an exciting new approach to correct iron deficiency early in pregnancy, prevent low birth weight, preterm delivery and reduce neonatal deaths. It has few side effects, facilitates absorption of iron, and reduces maternal inflammation to enhance the utilization of iron giving it the potential to rapidly restore iron status in pregnant women, even in populations with high burdens of infectious diseases. Adding riboflavin and vitamin will further improve the utilization of iron and help improve the efficacy of the supplements. Our approach will provide a product that will efficiently deliver iron and that can be taken early in pregnancy during a critical intervention window, which offers the potential to prevent neonatal deaths. It may also lead to more rapid restoration of iron status and allow programs to reduce the frequency of antenatal supplementation and reduce overall program costs.

More information about Saving Lives at Birth (Round 4)

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.