Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH)

Project Description

Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children under five worldwide according to the World Health Organization. In spite of this, it has been decades since the last major global multi-site study of the causes of pneumonia. And children globally are being treated based on research completed in the 1980s. The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) study is a seven site study, coordinated by Johns Hopkins University, to determine the etiology, or causes, of pneumonia. With the aims of identifying the causes of pneumonia and determining if vaccines currently in development will address these causes of pneumonia in order to provide improved pneumonia care and prevention to children.

The collaborative study — between Boston University, the University of Zambia Department of Pediatrics, six research institutions across Africa and Asia, and coordinated by the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health — will systematically determine the current and likely future causes of childhood pneumonia in some of the world’s hardest hit populations.

Aiming to enroll more than 8,000 children in seven nations, PERCH will be the largest, multi-country study of its kind in over 20 years. Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, it is expected to inform global efforts against pneumonia — the world’s biggest killer of young children — for 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, New Zealand.

“PERCH is a centerpiece of the Foundation’s child health research programs,” said Dr. Richard Adegbola, senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says. “We expect the results of the PERCH study, by harnessing the latest advances in science and technology, will make major contributions to the field of pneumonia control and prevention.”

The BU Center for Global Health & Development and the University of Zambia, Department of Pediatrics began enrolling patients into the PERCH study in August 2011 and ceased accrual on March 21, 2014 with over 1300 cases and control children enrolled. Preliminary results will be presented at the The 9th International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases will take place in Hyderabad, India, from 9-13 March, 2014.

Related Study:

  • Checklist Study – With a grant from USAID through Johns Hopkins University (PIs Bill Moss and Catie Sutcliffe), the Zambia site of PERCH is studying the effect of a simple clinical checklist to decrease the high pneumonia case fatality rate found at the PERCH Zambia site compared with the other PERCH sites.

Please click here for more information on the study protocol and the PERCH project.

Project Details

Principal Investigator Donald M. Thea
Boston University Co-Investigators Lawrence Mwyanayanda
Collaborators University of Zambia School of Medicine

  • Dr. James Chipeta
  • Dr. Geoffrey Kwenda
  • Dr. James Mwansa
  • Dr. Somwe Somwe
Country(ies) Zambia
Dates of Research September 2010- December 2013
Donor/Funder Bill_and_Melinda_Gates_FoundationThe Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Johns HopkinsJohns Hopkins University