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Probiotics could treat tonsillitis

Tony Walls in the wardsRecurring tonsillitis causes pain for children and stress for their families.

Paediatrician Tony Walls is testing whether probiotics could be a solution to this problem.

Children waiting to get their tonsils removed will get a daily probiotic lozenge for up to three months. 

The world-first clinical trial will involve children from Christchurch and Wellington.

Could daily lozenge keep infections away ?

Dr Walls says he hopes the supplement will stop some children needing surgery, and reduce waiting times for others.

If the trial is successful, a University of Otago company (called BLIS technologies) would market the lozenges. They are already available to buy over-the-counter from pharmacies, under the name BLIS K12. This clinical trial would provide scientific evidence on whether the lozenge is effective for tonsillitis.

The probiotic innovation began with a University of Otago discovery, and subsequent small trial.

Dr Walls, a researcher at the University's Christchurch campus, has worked on the project since its beginning. 

He says that if the probiotics prove effective in treating tonsillitis, they would be tested in children with recurrent ear infections.