HIV and viral infections

Penta began as a network focused on the treatment of paediatric HIV, and as such has a long history of activities in this area. In addition to observational studies and more than 15 clinical trials among children and pregnant women living with HIV, Penta has regularly published guidelines for the treatment of paediatric HIV and conducted training programmes for healthcare professionals who care for women and children living with HIV. While contributing to the search for a vaccine or cure, these activities are primarily focused on improving the daily lives of children and women living with HIV, and preventing the transmission of the virus from mother to child.


Penta is also engaged in research into viruses other than HIV that impact pregnant women and children. Our aim is to investigate the mechanisms and consequences of vertical transmission of other viruses, including cytomegalovirus, hepatitis C, respiratory syncytial virus, and Zika virus.

Neglected or emerging childhood infections

In addition to conducting research on viral infections in children, Penta actively participates in research projects aimed at enhancing our understanding of epidemiology and pathogenesis, as well as improving the treatment and management of fungal infections in paediatric patients.


Moreover, starting from 2020, Penta has collaborated with partners to advance the treatment and care of COVID-19, while also focusing on strengthening research preparedness for future emerging infections that could potentially affect the health of mothers and children.

Severe bacterial infections and AMR

In an era when increasing levels of antibiotic resistance threaten the ability to prevent and treat severe infections, which can be life threatening for children and especially newborns, research on how to efficiently and conservatively use antimicrobials in various populations is urgently needed.


Penta has been involved in several European and global initiatives aimed at better characterising the use of antimicrobials among children and neonates, as well as the scale of resistance in this population and investigating optimal treatment regimens for common neonatal infections, using old and new antibiotics and testing new combinations of antibiotics.

Training & Education

To accomplish its mission to improve the day-to-day lives of women and children, Penta has adopted two directions:

  • Training of researchers and clinicians on the prevention and management of paediatric infectious diseases.
  • Education of younger people on the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Penta is dedicated to bringing the experience and expertise of our network not only to healthcare professionals and scientists around the world but also to students in schools, using innovative e-learning strategies together with face-to-face teaching. By training the next generation of professionals at the front line of paediatric infectious diseases and educating young people about HIV and sexual health, Penta continues its mission to prevent, diagnose and treat childhood infections.

Network building

While most of Penta’s activities involve paediatric medicines, the projects under this heading are those that focus specifically on building capacity for the development and marketing of paediatric formulations or medicines or address identified gaps or urgent needs in the development of drugs for children.

Our objective is to facilitate the generation of information needed to ensure that the right drugs at the right doses are available for use by children and newborns.

Youth engagement & participation

Young people understand their own needs and bring a unique perspective into the planning, design and implementation of our studies. For this reason, involving young people in Penta’s work is extremely important and impactful. We do this in a meaningful and ethical way through our youth engagement projects. Read more about youth engagement and participation.