Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the main cause of viral lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) leading to hospitalization in young children worldwide. In the clinical setting it is impossible to predict which patients will show progressively worse disease and which ones can be discharged home. Dr. Asuncion Mejias and Dr. Octavio Ramilo seek to better understand the pathogenesis of acute RSV LRTI and identifying objective risk factors for severe disease. By using a combination of state-of-the-art microarray, flow cytometry technology, and functional assays, their team is studying in depth the host immune factors that most contribute to the severity of the disease. Understanding the immune factors that correlate with severity (and/or protection) in this population will help with patient stratification in the clinical setting, advance vaccine development and designed targeted therapies.
RSV infects most children at least once by the time they are 2 years old, and is the leading cause of hospitalization for children less than 1 year of age. The goal of Drs. Mejias' and Ramilo's research is to fill the serious unmet need for a vaccine to prevent RSV infection, as well as to develop effective antiviral agents against RSV.
Drs. Mejias and Ramilo are members of The Research Institute's Center for Vaccine and Immunity.
Garcia C, Bhore, R, Soriano-Fallas A, Trost M, Chason R, Ramilo O and Mejías A. Risk Factors for Bronchiolitis-related Hospitalizations: Differences between Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and non-RSV Bronchiolitis. Pediatrics. 2010, 126(6):e1453-60.
Garcia C, Soriano-Fallas A, Lozano J, Leos N, Gomez AM, Ramilo O and Mejías A. Decreased Innate Immune Cytokine Responses Correlate with Disease Severity in Children with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Rhinovirus (HRV) Bronchiolitis. The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 2012, 31(1):86-89.
Mella C, Suarez-Arrabal M.C, Lopez S, Stephens J, Fernandez S, Hall M, Ramilo O, Mejias A. Innate Immune Dysfunction is Associated with Enhanced Disease Severity in Infants with Respiratory Syncytial Virus Bronchiolitis. The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2013, 207(4):564-73.