On May 5th, World Asthma Day 2015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to advance the understanding of asthma and develop effective strategies to manage and prevent the disease.

According to the statement, NIH-supported scientists are making progress in understanding how certain exposures — such as to microbes, allergy-triggering substances (allergens) and pollution — may contribute to the development or worsening of asthma, and are working on new approaches to address these factors.

An estimated 300 million people worldwide are living with asthma, a chronic disease that inflames and narrows the airways of the lungs, causing wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing. Globally, an estimated 15 million years of life are lost each year due to asthma-related disability or early death. Asthma is a leading cause of hospitalization and missed school and work days in the United States, and managing the condition can be costly for families and health care systems.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI); and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) are the lead NIH institutes that support and conduct asthma research. Among many other asthma-related projects, scientists supported by these institutes are working to advance knowledge of how exposures affect asthma development and severity. These studies underpin NIH efforts to reduce the worldwide burden of asthma and improve the quality of life for people with this chronic disease.

Read the full statement here.