A Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher is leading a multi-year research study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to investigate ways to reduce the nearly 200,000 childhood deaths caused by pertussis.
The $1.2 million grant for the initial phase of the study will help track the incidence of pertussis in the first six months of life, when infants are most susceptible to the disease, said Dr. Christopher Gill, an associate professor of global health who heads a BU research team working in Zambia.
“We’re focused on novel ways of reducing child mortality that can be affordable. One idea that has gotten a lot of traction is maternal vaccinations as a way of generating immunity in the child,” Dr. Gill said.
Prior field experience has shown that immunizing mothers against influenza and tetanus can help reduce the incidence of these diseases in very young infants. Tetanus vaccines for expectant mothers are already part of the prenatal health routine in many developing countries like Zambia, where Dr. Gill’s team plans to swap out the current tetanus vaccine in favor of the combination tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine (TDAP).
To read more about the grant, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2015/01/01/sph-study-aims-to-help-developing-countries-curb-childhood-pertussis/