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Acute respiratory infections in adults

The primary aim of this study is to identify host and pathogen related determinants of disease severity of acute respiratory infections (ARI). In this study we will include a prospectively defined and sufficiently sized patient cohort that will allow investigations of relative contributions of host and pathogen factors in development of mild, moderate and severe ARI. This study will be delivered as work package 3 (WP3) of the Platform for European Preparedness Against (Re-) emerging Epidemics (PREPARE) consortium grant. PREPARE is a European Commission funded network for the rapid and efficient delivery of harmonised, large-scale clinical research studies on infectious diseases (ID).


Pathogens causing ARI are among the most likely candidates to cause the next pandemic. We need to better understand why some people become much more ill than others when they have an ARI.

Populations at general risk of developing severe disease are well known, such as the elderly, people with chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular or metabolic disease or immunocompromised patients. However, some respiratory infections can also cause severe disease in younger previously healthy individuals due to a combination of the virus itself and the individual’s immune responses.

It is likely that individual risk factors affect the body’s response to ARI in different ways and this in turn can influence the severity of disease. In people who become moderately or severely ill, there is an assumption that the body’s underlying response to disease is the same and hence that everyone will benefit equally from the same treatments. Increased insight into how different individuals respond to respiratory pathogens can allow us to better anticipate severity at individual patient levels. This in turn will enable us to formulate strategies for individualised treatment options to reduce disease severity, risk of complications and hospitalisations.

Study design: Prospective, observational study 
Sponsor: University of Oxford    
Ethical approval: REC No: 15/WM/0254  
Chief Investigator: Professor Peter Horby, University of Oxford



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