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Pneumonia in children : Zinc does not help speed-up recovery


Based on the results of a meta-analysis, treating children with pneumonia using zinc does not appear to be beneficial.

Multiple studies involving children aged 2 to 60 months in low-to-middle income countries were grouped together online by researchers. The studies evaluated the use of zinc against a placebo when given as a treatment for the standard therapy for pneumonia.  Additionally, the treatment regime includes antibiotics.

The seven studies were conducted in South Asia, three in Africa, and one in South America. The total population were 6,497 children.  All of the children in the studies contracted severe pneumonia except for one. Children aged >12 months were given 20mg of zinc dosage per day, while younger kids received 10 or 20mg daily dose.

Based on the data that they have gathered, the proportional treatment failure was similar in the zinc and placebo groups in the subgroup of children with severe pneumonia and in the overall population.

Furthermore, there were no significant differences between treatment observed in mortality and the time for recovery from this disease. However, four studies were excluded due to the high risk of bias, which did not alter the result.

Oral supplementation of zinc is not beneficial when used adjunctively in the acute phase of paediatric pneumonia as a present study suggests.

Even though it has many hypothetically attractive properties that may alter host response to respiratory pathogens. This includes the regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, lymphocyte proliferation, and T lymphocyte function.

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