• Understanding the immune response to viral infection in elderly smokers and non-smokers (Prof. Peter Openshaw - Imperial).

Although respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major global pathogen that rivals influenza in importance, there is still no vaccine or specific treatment. INFLAMMAGE is a unique investigation of the immunobiology of RSV infection in older adult volunteers, using a milestone-driven approach involving a multi-institute alliance with GSK. In human challenge, RSV infection causes macroscopic, transcriptomic and histopathological inflammation of the lower airway that is quite different from what is seen with other common cold viruses (e.g. human rhinovirus, influenza). The project focusses on obtaining a better understanding of the immune mechanisms that protect against virus-induced lung disease in older people and how these differ from responses seen in younger adults. INFLAMMAGE uses cutting edge experimental medicine and high-dimensional -omics techniques with to study how acquired immunity, innate immunity and barrier functions of the respiratory mucosa contribute to protection against RSV-induced lower airway disease.