Collaborating to combat killers

Indonesian and Australian researchers are working together to combat two big killers: pneumonia, and tuberculosis.

Around six million young Indonesians catch pneumonia each year, according to a 2008 study, and it’s the number one killer of children under five. Researchers now think there might be a link to how much time kids are spending out in the sunshine—more specifically, their level of vitamin D.

The study is part of a two-pronged attack aimed at collecting information on the incidence and severity in early childhood of respiratory tract infections—including the common cold, asthma, pneumonia, bronchiolitis—and to determine whether they are linked to a lack of vitamin D.

It’s founded on a research collaboration of more than 40 years between the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and the Faculty of Medicine at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta.

The University of Sydney are also collaborating with UGM to develop a new vaccine for tuberculosis. They’ve already established a laboratory and immunological techniques to test if two proteins from the bacterium can be used as the basis for a vaccine. Testing is planned to begin by the end of 2015.

More than 320,000 cases of tuberculosis were reported in Indonesia and just over 1,000 in Australia in 2014, according to the World Health Organisation.

More on TB research: 

More on pneumonia research: