Experts can now target upwards of 70 different types of pneumonia in one shot.
Feeling wheezy? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), back in 2004 pneumonia killed more than 2 million children worldwide. By 2015, that number had more than halved.
Why? The drop in cases has been attributed to people having better access to antibiotics and improved nutrition worldwide, but scientists feel that the biggest reason for the plunge lies elsewhere.
In the early 2000s, a pneumonia vaccine was introduced that targeted up to 23 of the most deadly types of the bacterium that causes pneumonia, called Streptococcus pneumonia. And now a newer vaccine is doing even more.
A study out of the University of Buffalo describes how the new vaccine successfully triggered an immune response to 72 different types of pneumonia, (who knew there were so many?). Researchers are celebrating this as the “most comprehensive” coverage of pneumococcal disease to date.
And of note yogurt fans, this vaccine also does something that many don’t: it only targets the bad bacteria in your body, leaving the good stuff to keep you healthy.
“Traditional vaccines completely remove bacteria from the body. But we now know that bacteria – and in a larger sense, the microbiome — are beneficial to maintaining good health,” says Charles H. Jones, the study’s other co-lead author.
“What’s really exciting is that we now have the ability… to watch over bacteria and attack it only if it breaks away from the colony to cause an illness. That’s important because if we leave the harmless bacteria in place, it prevents other harmful bacteria from filling that space.”
Doctors recommend that infants, young children and older adults over the age of 65 receive a pneumonia vaccine, as their immune systems can be weakened.
If you’re over 19 and suffering from certain medical conditions, it’s also a good idea. Talk to your doctor and stay healthy.
Photo credits: Koldunov/Shutterstock.com