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We investigate infectious diseases in primary care to find out how we can identify patients with serious infection in primary care, and more effective ways of diagnosing and treating patients with common infections.

We are working on a number of studies looking at how to diagnose and treat various common infectious diseases in children and adults in primary care.

Our work is important because it will help primary care clinicians to decide how best to identify which patients presenting with common symptoms such as coughs and colds are most likely to develop serious complications. This will help GPs know which patients are most likely to benefit from antibiotics. This can help to reduce unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics that is adding to resistance to antibiotics in many countries. We are running a number of very large studies to help answer these questions, which involve recruiting thousands of patients from across the UK.

We are also examining novel ways of diagnosing other infections such as whooping cough in people presenting with cough, as this may be an important cause of persistent coughing even in children and adults who have been vaccinated against this infection. We are also examining how many children with a persistent cough may have whooping cough; and trialling a drug which may be an effective treatment for persistent coughs.

In parallel, we are running trials to investigate treatments other than antibiotics for patients presenting with common cough and cold symptoms. This may give GPs and patients treatment options other than antibiotics to help relieve symptoms for these common illnesses.

Many of our researchers are major contributors to the NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operative Oxford which is hosted by this department. 

Our team

Latest news

Inhaled corticosteroids to be investigated as a possible treatment for Covid-19 in national PRINCIPLE Trial

In Covid-19, inhaled budesonide may prevent damaging inflammation, stop the virus from getting into lung cells and inhibit viral replication.

Selected publications

Our blogs:

Can a daily probiotic keep antibiotics at bay?

Professor Chris Butler, Director of the Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit, writes about the recent PRINCESS trial, which investigated whether probiotics can reduce infections in care home residents.

Setting the research agenda in advanced heart failure

Dr Nick Jones, Wellcome Trust Doctoral Research Fellow, writes about the Research Priorities in Advanced Heart Failure project, which has now published its top 10 priorities for the research community.


Whooping Cough