Pidotimod: the past and the present
Department of Pediatrics, Luigi Sacco Hospital, University of Milan, Via GB Grassi 74, 20157, Milan, Italy
Italian Journal of Pediatrics 2013, 39:75 doi:10.1186/1824-7288-39-75Published: 6 December 2013
At the end of 1990s, acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) were called the 'forgotten pandemic’, with a clear dichotomy between developing and industrialised countries in mortality and morbidity, the main outcomes associated with ARTIs. This definition still applies 20 years later, when the introduction of new and safe antibiotics and vaccines has certainly contributed to controlling the most life-threatening ARTIs, but has not had a major impact on viral ARTIs in paediatric age. One functional approach to preventing and treating ARTIs is non-specifically increasing the immune response or enhancing the children’s innate defence mechanisms. Different kinds of biologically active substances – called immunostimulants – of natural and synthetic origins and with different mechanisms of action have been introduced in some countries for the prevention of ARTIs in children. Recently, research focused on one of these compounds, Pidotimod, has attempted to better clarify and define its mechanisms of action both in vitro and in vivo. In this paper, we critically examine the most recent findings on Pidotimod. Certainly the improvement of research methodology in the last 20 years and the acquired knowledge in various fields of clinical immunology should be the starting point for research on Pidotimod. Preclinical research will be essential to better understand the mechanisms of action of this compound. However, in vivo studies, especially randomised control trials, will be necessary to establish the real efficacy of Pidotimod in the prevention of ARTIs in paediatric age.