Pre-delivery administration of azithromycin to prevent neonatal sepsis and death: a phase iii double-blind randomized clinical trial (PregnAnZI-2 trial)

Bully Camara, Joel D. Bognini, Usman N. Nakakana, Athanase M. Some, Isatou Jagne, Marc C. Tahita, Nathalie Beloum, Fatoumata Sillah, Madikoi Danso, Joquina C. Jones, Shashu Graves, Pauline Getanda, Toussaint Rouamba, Ebrahim Ndure, Hien S. Franck, Sawadogo Y. Edmond, Yusupha Njie, Bai L. Dondeh, Nassa G. J. Wilfried, Abdoulie Bojang, Garba Zakaria, Christian Bottomley, Umberto D’Alessandro, Halidou Tinto, Anna Roca


Background: Despite reduction in the risk of under-5 mortality in the last decade and a half, neonatal deaths have remained stable globally. Gram-positive bacterial infections are leading causes of neonatal sepsis and death. Because the mother is an important source for bacterial transmission to babies during the perinatal period, interventions that lower risk of transmission can potentially reduce invasive bacterial infections. The primary objective of the trial will assess the effect of intrapartum azithromycin on neonatal sepsis and mortality. Secondary objectives include the impact of the intervention on prevalence of carriage and resistance, puerperal infections, and infant growth.

Methods: This is a phase III, double-blinded, placebo-controlled randomized trial in which 12,000 women in labour are randomized to either a single dose of 2 g of oral azithromycin (AZI) or placebo in The Gambia and Burkina Faso. Mother/newborn pairs are followed-up at 28-days post-delivery to assess health and mortality. Passive visits are conducted to collect adverse events including hospitalizations. When clinically indicated, samples are collected for assessment of neonatal and puerperal sepsis. A cohort of 250 mother/newborn pair per country have been included in the carriage sub-study to assess bacterial colonization at day 0, 6, 28 and 4 months. Children of the first 1000 mothers recruited in each country are followed-up at 6 and 12 months for anthropometric assessments.

Conclusions: If successful, this simple implementable intervention has the potential to achieve wide coverage in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where low-cost interventions to reduce neonatal sepsis and mortality and morbidity in mothers are urgently needed.

Trial registration: The trial was registered at NCT03199547.


Azithromycin, Neonatal sepsis, Neonatal mortality, Bacterial infections, Randomized clinical trial, Bacterial carriage, Sub-Saharan Africa

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