UNICEF and WHO Launch Global Plan Against Pneumonia

pneumonia1The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF are kicking off a comprehensive plan to fight the world’s leading child killer. The two organizations announced the joint launch of their Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP) at the Global Pneumonia Summit in New York on Monday. 

According to Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director, pneumonia kills over 4,000 children under age 5 every day. The new plan could save more than 5 million children over 6 years. The plan takes a three-pronged approach: promoting a healthy environment through practices such as handwashing, preventing illness through vaccines, and providing young pneumonia patients with proper care and medication. The Global Task Force on Pneumonia, which both WHO and UNICEF belong to, plans to coordinate implementation of the new strategy, particularly in countries that are hardest hit by pneumonia.

Pneumonia is typically treated with antibiotics, but some biopharmaceutical companies are taking novel approaches to treating various forms of pneumonia. Massachusetts-based Enanta Pharmaceuticals is developing EDP-420, a small molecule drug that is part of a new class of macrolide antibiotics called Bicyclolides. Enanta’s drug are designed to overcome bacterial resistance in diseases such as pneumonia.  A novel anti-infective compound from San Jose, Calif.-based Aridis Pharmaceuticals may be effective against antibiotic-resistant, hospital acquired pneumonia. Immtech International of New York City is developing a new class of oral drugs to treat infectious diseases, including pneumonia.

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