Cow extract may prevent diarrhoea in travellers

AN AUSTRALIAN-developed prophylactic agent against traveller’s diarrhoea has been shown to be effective in a recent study.

Ninety healthy volunteers taking a powdered extract of hyperimmune bovine colostrum were 90% protected against diarrhoea caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) compared with those taking placebo, researchers showed.

The hyperimmune bovine colostrum tablets (Travelan), available over the counter in Australia since 2005, are taken three times a day for seven days before meals.

The colostrum is obtained from dairy cows immunised against antigens derived from 14 ETEC strains.

The researchers said the anti-ETEC activity was most likely due to its ability to interfere with the binding of ETEC cells to intestinal mucosa.

“These results demonstrate an important step forward in ensuring the health of travellers who may be exposed to ETEC in less-developed countries,” said study author