Could Antibiotics Be a Silver Bullet for Kids in Africa?

June 6, 2019

(NPR) – The story starts in 2009, when a group of ophthalmologists from the University of California, San Francisco published some surprising results from a study they had conducted in Ethiopia on trachoma, an eye infection that is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness. The eye doctors knew that the antibiotic azithromycin was effective in fighting the disease and had administered it to tens of thousands of children there, ages 1 to 9. Meanwhile, they wanted to keep watch on whether the drug seemed to have any other beneficial effects on the children’s health. What they found was remarkable: Mass azithromycin treatment, administered two times a year, seemed to have an almost miraculous ability to reduce childhood deaths. 

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