Pneumonia vaccine breakthrough: New jab could spell the end of DEADLY condition

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs, and can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi.

If you catch it, it can prove very serious - Jeremy Clarkson was recently hospitalised with the condition - but a new study has revealed a new vaccine that could stop it for good.

The number killed by the condition has fallen in recent decades.

Two million children worldwide died in 2004, but this had dropped to less than a million by 2015, according to the World Health Organisation.

Improvements have been attributed to access to antibiotics and improved nutrition, along with a number of vaccines introduced in the early 2000s.

Now researchers at the University of Buffalo in New York are in the process of creating a new vaccine that can lower death rates even further.

The jab, which is currently under development, will target dozens more strains of S. pneumoniae, a type of bacteria.

It will also predict future versions of bacteria that could be responsible for the disease.

Researchers say the findings, published in the journal Science Advances, provide the “most comprehensive” coverage of research into pneumonia to date.

“We’ve made tremendous progress fighting the spread of pneumonia, especially among children,” said Blaine Pfeifer, co-lead author from the University of Buffalo.

“But if we’re ever going to rid ourselves of the disease, we need to create smarter and more cost-effective vaccines.”

What could make the vaccine even more beneficial is that it will be able to remove harmful bacteria and leave harmless bacteria alone.

“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,” said Charles H. Jones, the study’s other co-lead author.

“What’s really exciting is that we now have the ability — with the vaccine we’re developing — 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.”