Pneumonia

Streptococcus pneumoniae

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, in particular of the pulmonary alveoli (air sacs of the lungs), that can be caused by a wide variety of bacteria, viruses or fungi. Certain groups of people are more likely to be affected by this infection; the high-risk group includes elderly people, young children, and patients suffering from a chronic disease, which weakens their immune system, e.g., diabetics or patients with HIV/AIDS.

Lower respiratory infections are the most deadly communicable diseases [1]

“Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide. Pneumonia killed 808 694 children under the age of five in 2017, accounting for 15% of all deaths of children under five years old.” [2]

Pneumococcal pneumonia, the most common type of bacterial pneumonia, is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (Genus: Streptococcus; family: Streptococcaceae). According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Streptococcus pneumoniae infects several million people worldwide each year and the mortality rate in the group of susceptible people is fairly high.

Symptoms of pneumococcal diseases are similar to flu symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, joint pain, and chills. In severe cases, it can cause death within two days.

Patients with an acute bacterial pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics. However, prevention by immunization with the pneumococcal vaccine is to be preferred; it protects at-risk people and travelers for whom it is recommended.

Respiratory viruses can also infect the lower respiratory tract and cause pneumonia. Some examples include:

  • influenza (flu) A and B viruses (more often in adults),
  • respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (more often in infants and children),
  • rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, para-influenza viruses,
  • coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19,
  • chickenpox (also known as varicella), herpes simplex and measles (rare events).

Viral pneumonia usually takes a milder course compared to a bacterial pneumonia and can improve in one to three weeks without treatment. However, some infectious cases, such as those caused by influenza or SARS-CoV-2, can be fatal.

Given the rapid spread of the coronavirus around the world, millions of people became infected and tens of thousands died within a very short time. Finding a new anti-viral therapy and a vaccine has thus become vital for the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus worldwide.

CRS is the first in Germany to perform a clinical trial with an anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine

CRS is proud now to be the first Contract Research Organization (CRO) in Germany to perform an in-human clinical trial with a vaccine designed to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Working together with innovative sponsors and helping to bring important therapies to the market makes us your ideal CRO partner.

Sources

[1] World Health Organization – WHO: The top 10 causes of death. www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death (last accessed on 15 June 2020).

[2] WHO: Pneumonia; Key facts. www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/pneumonia (last accessed on 15 June 2020).

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