A collaborative research study with scientists from Indonesia and Australia will examine a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and pneumonia in Indonesian children.

Research in other countries has linked the occurrence of acute respiratory disease with vitamin D deficiency and a recent study in Indonesia estimates that of children aged two years or older, between 35 and 47% are lacking vitamin D. But the association between respiratory illness and vitamin D deficiency has never been studied directly in Indonesia.

The protocols for recruitment and management of the research are based on 40 years of collaborative research between the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Gadjah Mada into Rotavirus, the organism discovered by the Murdoch’s Professor Ruth Bishop as a major cause of diarrhoea, the second most common cause of infant mortality worldwide.

At present, the two institutions are working together trialling a vaccine against Rotavirus developed at Murdoch, and much of the experience and many of the relationships forged in that study will be part of the current work.

“We trust each other,” says Dr Margie Danchin of the Murdoch and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, who is co-leader of the work.

“This work would not have been possible without that trust.”

The original collaboration started between Professor Bishop and Professor Yati Soenarto of Paediatrics at Gadjah Mada. Margie and Vicka met through their involvement in the Rotavirus vaccine trial.

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