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Biology, Target Search and Drug Discovery

Immune Response to Viral Respiratory Infections and Vaccination in the Elderly

EC contribution
: € 1 770 361
: 36 months
Starting date
: 01/01/2007
: New respiratory viruses, immune response of the elderly, mouse models, diagnosis, siRNA, EGS
Project Number
: LSHM-CT-2006-037276


During the last years some new respiratory viruses (HMPV/hCoVNL63/SARS/ Bocavirus/flu H5N1) have emerged. In addition to other viruses, such as RSV, EBV and Paramyxoviruses, they are able to induce severe respiratory diseases in high-risk patients, in particular young children and the elderly.


We will study the innate and acquired immune response of the elderly against the new and known respiratory viruses. Clinical and basic research aspects will be addressed equally, and new diagnostic assays to evaluate the immune status of the elderly will be developed. Within the project an animal model for investigation of elderly people's immune response will be established. In this model antiviral agents will be tested for their ability to support the patient's immune response. Up to 40 000 elderly sera collected during the last nine years will be tested for antibodies to emerging respiratory viruses (HCoV-NL63/HMPV/RSV/EBV/fluH5N1), providing a wide view of the epidemiology of these viruses. For a precise view of elderly people's immune response to the viruses, a defined and uniform panel of relevant clinical data related to respiratory infections will be collected. Internationally standardised prospective data mining and a new multi-lingual software tool will be developed within the project and used by the partners.

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