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Largest global childhood pneumonia etiology study launched
Date:8/16/2011

(BALTIMORE, MD) Pneumonia kills more children around the world than any other disease, but the last major effort to study the causes of childhood pneumonia across many countries was conducted in the 1980's. This week, a groundbreaking new study called the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) study gets off the ground. A collaboration between 5 African and 2 Asian research sites coordinated by the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the study will systematically look at current and likely future causes of childhood pneumonia in some of the world's hardest hit populations.

Aiming to enroll more than 12,000 children in seven different countries, PERCH will be the largest, multi-country study of its kind in over 20 years. The study is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is expected to inform global efforts against pneumonia the world's biggest killer of young children in the years to come. The study is being conducted in Bangladesh, The Gambia, Kenya, Mali, South Africa, Thailand, and Zambia, and in collaboration with local and international research stations and universities, including laboratory support from the University of Otago and Canterbury Health Laboratories, New Zealand.

"Every child in the world is at risk of pneumonia. While we're preventing lots of pneumonia with vaccines due to some germs, we need a new evidence-base on pneumonia to assure that we use effective treatments and develop the right vaccines for the next decade," said Orin Levine, lead investigator on the study and professor of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Pneumonia remains the leading infectious cause of childhood deaths around the world, accounting for more than 1.5 million child deaths per year, with 98 percent of these deaths occurring in developing countries. Pneumonia kills more young children under five year
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Contact: Julie Younkin
jbuss@jhsph.edu
410-340-9784
International Vaccine Access Center
Source:Eurekalert

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