Lung virus vaccine hope19th April 2010
A study into a respiratory condition that kills 200,000 children worldwide every year could be used to develop a vaccine.
The researchers from Edinburgh University discovered that around 3.4 million children had to be admitted to hospital because they contracted respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
The study, which was published in The Lancet, said the virus was the biggest cause of lung infections in children.
The researchers said the virus generally did not result in severe symptoms but could cause serious difficulties for babies who were premature or who had heart problems.
The study is the first of its kind to find out the number of deaths in children aged under five years old around the world.
The team said 33.8 million children contracted the virus annually around the world and 99% of deaths were in developing countries.
Dr Harish Nair, of the University of Edinburgh's department of population health studies, said: "Our greatest hope of fighting this virus is to develop a vaccine, but before we can implement an immunisation programme, we need to understand exactly how big a problem RSV poses."
"This is the first time we have gathered information on such a global scale and is the best estimate we have for the number of children dying each year from this preventable illness."
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Title: Lung virus vaccine hope
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 14651
Date Added: 19th Apr 2010