Asthma is a lung condition characterised by recurrent bouts of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing, especially at night or in the early morning.

Managing asthma involves using medication and avoiding triggers that can provoke an attack.

The primary and most common treatment for asthma is an inhaler, which delivers medication directly to the lungs to alleviate symptoms and improve breathing.

Other treatment options include oral medications, biologic therapies, and procedures such as bronchial thermoplasty, all of which aim to effectively manage asthma symptoms and improve quality of life.

According to a literature review conducted by Wadhawan, Muthukumaru, and Loh, data from the 2011 Asia-Pacific Asthma Insights and Management survey, (n = 3,630, ages 12 years and older) across nine countries in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region highlighted that 90% of asthma patients remain uncontrolled (partly or otherwise) based on the Global Initiative for Asthma definition of asthma control.

According to leading data and analytics company GlobalData’s Clinical Trials Database, during 2019-2023, 51.8% of asthma trials were initiated in the APAC region.

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Phase I trials comprised 42.4% of the total clinical trials.

This was followed by Phase II (21.4%), Phase IV (16.5%), and Phase III (10.8%). In the APAC region, China initiated the highest number of clinical trials for asthma treatments, with 337 clinical trials initiated, followed by India with 137 clinical trials and South Korea with 83 clinical trials.

These findings appear to be consistent with research indicating that while asthma prevalence tends to be lower in low- and low-middle-income countries compared to high-income countries, the unmet need and overall burden of the disease is significantly higher.

Over the past five years, the five leading sponsors for clinical trials in the APAC region are AstraZeneca, Sanofi, GSK, Novartis, and Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, according to the GlobalData Clinical Trials Database.

Between 2019 and 2023, global venture funding for research and development in treatments for asthma in the APAC region is $41.7m, according to the GlobalData Deals Database.

Asthma stands out as a significant non-communicable disease, and while progress has been made in its treatment, the burden of asthma continues to increase due to unmet needs.

Despite a higher asthma prevalence existing in North America and in Europe, the APAC region reports the most asthma-related deaths.

Addressing unmet needs such as achieving better control and preventing exacerbations, remains a major challenge in this region.

Issues such as treatment of non-compliance, unequal access to treatments, and differing perceptions of asthma control between patients and physicians contribute to this challenge.

It is crucial to focus on initiatives such as patient education, early diagnosis, effective management strategies, improved treatment accessibility, adherence to treatments, and enhancing healthcare infrastructure to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with uncontrolled asthma in the APAC region.