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Bid to break asthma, lung virus link

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Sydney doctors are recruiting sick babies to test a new therapy that could prevent asthma.

Sydney doctors are recruiting sick babies to test a new therapy that could prevent asthma.About 40 per cent of children hospitalised with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis go on to develop asthma, Sydney Children’s Hospital’s head of respiratory medicine Dr John Morton said.”Nearly all of the kids who get RSV bronchiolitis have wheezing over the year or so after the bronchiolitis is over, then a certain percentage of those go on and get proper asthma,” Dr Morton said.”It’s one of the early assaults on the lungs that we think might start the asthma cycle going.”In a trial starting at the hospital this month, doctors will attempt to break the link between RSV bronchiolitis and asthma.”The idea is to intervene after that initial illness to see whether you can prevent this from going on to becoming recurrent wheezing and asthma,” Dr Morton said.”There’s been a study that suggested if you can block that early inflammation in the lungs you can stop the cycle from going onwards, if you can switch off that early inflammatory change you’re in a much better position.”Advertisement AdvertisementMost of the hundreds of children who end up in hospital with bronchiolitis every winter are aged under nine months.Doctors at Sydney Children’s Hospital want as many of them as possible to participate in the trial, in which the children will be given either a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, or a placebo.”The medication doesn’t modify the actual illness at all but it’s given before they leave hospital,” Dr Morton said.”They’ll take it for a couple of months – no one knows yet how long you have to give it to get the best effect – and then we’ll follow them up for a 12 month period after that and see how much wheezing and further trouble they have.”The medication being used in the trial had already been used in older children and infants “without any side-effects”, Dr Morton said.(Source: SMH Australia, July 2004)

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Dates

Posted On: 26 July, 2004
Modified On: 5 December, 2013

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