Viral and bacterial pneumonia is the leading causes of infant mortality with more than 2 million deaths per year, mostly in children in developing countries. The pathogen causing pneumonia remains difficult to diagnose.
In fact, clinical exams, lung x-rays and biological tests are imprecise, and blood tests report a positive result for only 10 to 20% of cases. The molecular biology techniques developed in the last 10 years have lead to the discovery of many viruses. However the existing diagnosis tests are not sensitive enough for the new viruses and bacteria responsible for these lower respiratory infections.
The studies lead by Fondation Mérieux's Emerging Pathogens Laboratory aims to provide accurate diagnostic tools to identify and characterize pneumonia to improve patient care.
The overall objective of the project is to give a comprehensive epidemiological view of respiratory pathogens in countries where pneumonia is a major public health problem.
The molecular tests are developed in the Emerging Pathogens Laboratory in Lyon. The evaluated and validated tools will then be sent to the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory in Madagascar. The country is also participating in a multi-centre pilot study with 8 other developing countries.
Around one hundred Madagascan children will receive appropriate health care due to this project.