Research Topic

Reducing Neonatal Infectious Morbidity and Mortality: Joining Up Our Thinking

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A staggering 45% of deaths in children under the age of 5 years occur in children under one month of age. It is imperative that we tackle the burden of neonatal infection in both developed and resource poor settings. It is recognized that neonates have immature immune responses that lead to a ‘physiological ...

A staggering 45% of deaths in children under the age of 5 years occur in children under one month of age. It is imperative that we tackle the burden of neonatal infection in both developed and resource poor settings. It is recognized that neonates have immature immune responses that lead to a ‘physiological immunodeficiency’ that encompasses both innate and adaptive neonatal immunity. These influence vaccine responses and translate to reduced or absent ability to fight infection. The identification of the novel strategies that will enhance the neonatal immune response, coupled with maternal vaccination to enhance passive protection from birth is therefore an urgent public health need.

The recent increase in research in this area has been facilitated by new technology, including next-generation sequencing and immunophenotyping arrays, which are increasingly being applied in low-income countries. Much progress has been made in our understanding of the innate immune response, the effect of microbial exposure, nutrition and the microbiome on the developing immune system, and modulation of the immune system to boost the immune response to treatment.
In order to harness this progress and identify the research agenda needed to reduce the burden of neonatal infection globally, the Royal Society have convened a Theo Murphy scientific meeting at the Kavli Royal Society Centre in February 2017. The eminent speakers at this event along with authors submitting unsolicited manuscripts will be encouraged to submit reviews, mini-reviews, opinion pieces and original research under one of the 4 themes of the meeting. The four themes of the meeting and this Research Topic are: The burden and current management of neonatal infection; Mechanisms of susceptibility to infection in neonates; Immunological opportunities to protect neonates; Vaccination in pregnancy and early life.

This Research Topic provides authors with the opportunity to showcase their research on a high-quality Open Access publishing platform to ensure that researchers around the world are able to access the latest evidence in this field. All accepted manuscripts will be published as part of an e-book. The motivation to produce such an e-book is to drive new research ideas to better protect these vulnerable infants globally.


Keywords: Neonatal, infection, immunology, vaccination, immunomodulation


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