Effects of Zinc as an Adjunct to Treatment of Pneumonia in Young Children

Project Description

In developing countries, pneumonia is not only more common than in the developed world, but it is also more severe. About 20% of deaths in young children are attributable to pneumonia, and more than 90% of these deaths occur in resource-poor countries. At the same time, zinc deficiency is widespread in developing countries and is recognized to play an important role in impaired growth and immune function. Children with adequate levels of zinc may have a stronger immune response than those with inadequate zinc levels. Thus far, only one trial, conducted in Bangladesh, has demonstrated a clear benefit of zinc on pneumonia treatment.

Ecuador, where zinc deficiency and pneumonia in children are important public health problems, is an appropriate setting to explore zinc’s role in pneumonia treatment.

Led by the Corporación Ecuatoriana de Biotecnología, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of zinc, as an adjunct to the treatment of pneumonia, on the duration of clinical signs of pneumonia, length of hospitalization, and the etiology-dependent clinical evolution of pneumonia in young children. In this study we hypothesize that zinc, used as an adjunct to the treatment of pneumonia in children 2 to 59 months of age, will reduce the duration of the pneumonia episode. In addition, we hypothesize that the benefit of zinc will be the same for children with both bacterial and viral pneumonia.

Project Details

Principal Investigator Davidson Hamer
Boston University Co-Investigators Lora Sabin
  • Corporación Ecuatoriana de Biotecnología
Country(ies) Ecuador
Dates of Research 2008–2010