African Study Shows Zinc Saves Lives

Alexandra Sifferlin

Pneumonia is the most common cause of death among children under 5, but a new study finds that there may be a cheap and easy way to increase kids’ survival: zinc.

Researchers from Makerere University in Uganda conducted a placebo-controlled study of 350 children aged 6 months to 5 years old. All the children were treated with standard antibiotic therapy, but in addition, half were given zinc and half were given a placebo once daily for a week

The results showed that there was no difference between the zinc and placebo groups in the time it took children to recover from pneumonia, but the kids’ rates of survival were markedly affected by zinc. Only 4% of children taking zinc died, compared with 12% of the children on placebo.

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