Life Sciences, Genomics and Biotechnilogy for Health

Sixth Framework Programm

EU Commision

Immune response to viral respiratory infections and vaccination in the elderly

Project acronym: RespViruses
Priority: high
Viruses: HCoV-NL63 / HMPV / RSV / EBV / H5N1
Patients: elderly

Multidisciplinary scientific network:
University Hospital Bonn, University of Siena, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, University Hospital Dijon, Hamann Softwaredevelopement, RNA-Tec, INGENASA, University Hospital Aachen

Countries: Germany, Italy, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain

During the last years some new respiratory viruses (HMPV/hCoV-NL63/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 in the elderly.

Project Objectives

  • new antibody based assays will be developed within the project
  • genomics and proteomics methodologies would be performed to develop new assays for diagnostic purposes of new emerging respiratory viruses
  • new strategies to compensate immuno-senescence will be investigated to stimulate and assist the immune system in defending the disease
  • novel software will be developed, for better and standardized definition of parameters that can characterize a specific virus infection

The project will significantly contribute to the generation of new knowledge concerning the understanding of the elderly immune response to the viruses investigated. Moreover, it will provide important insights in the native and acquired sero-prevalence to those pathogens. Due to its epidemiological aspects, the project will be of significant importance to the European community.

The project will provide new strategies for the prevention and treatment of viral respiratory infections in the elderly. What is more, it will eventually contribute to the development of new drugs, vaccines, or immuno-adjuvants, as well as the implementation of new diagnostic assays.

Expected results
We expect to gain detailed knowledge on the innate and acquired immune response to emerging respiratory viruses in the elderly.
A thorough basic investigation of emerging respiratory viruses will provide further handles to develop antiviral strategies, and (known) antivirals will be evaluated with the final goal to support the elderly's immune response whilst reducing mortality caused by respiratory infections in the elderly.