Vitamin A Supplementation at Birth in Populations with High Mortality and Putative Low Levels of Vitamin A

Three trials have recently reported on this topic from Ghana,[1] Tanzania,[2] and India [3] with a total of 100,038 participants. The African trials are statistically null with point estimates showing increased risk in the intervention group, while the Indian trial was borderline positive (at the 0.05 significance level). Taken in the round, results are null. Vitamin A supplementation also yields null results in separate studies of babies 1–5 months of age, but it is effective in older babies. The CLAHRC WM Director surmises that vitamin A only becomes effective once the child has reached an age where it has lost the passive immunity it acquired from its mother while it was in the womb.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director

References:

  1. Edmond KM, Newton S, Shannon C, et al. Efficacy of early neonatal vitamin A supplementation on mortality during infancy in Ghana (Neovita): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 2015; 385: 1315-23.
  2. Masanja H, Smith ER, Muhihi A, et al. Effect of neonatal vitamin A supplementation on mortality in infants in Tanzania (Neovita): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2015; 385: 1324-32.
  3. Mazumder S, Taneja S, Bhatia K, et al. Efficacy of early neonatal supplementation with vitamin A to reduce mortality in infancy in Haryana, India (Neovita): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 2015; 385: 1333-42.
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