Mechanisms of Increased Susceptibility to Rhinovirus Infection in COPD

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Mechanisms of Increased Susceptibility to Rhinovirus Infection in Frequent and Infrequent Exacerbators of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease



  • Contact name

    Lydia Finney

  • Contact email

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    2 years, 9 months, 5 days

  • Research summary

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third greatest cause of death worldwide and currently affects 3 million people in the UK. COPD exacerbations are episodes of worsening symptoms and have a negative impact on quality of life, cause disease progression and increase risk of death. Some patients with COPD have more frequent exacerbations than others. The reason why some people are more prone to exacerbations is unknown.
    Approximately half of exacerbations are caused by viral infections. We have previously shown that frequent exacerbators experience significantly more colds and have an increased risk of colds progressing to an exacerbation compared to infrequent exacerbators.
    The aim of this study is to investigate if people who get frequent exacerbations of COPD are more susceptible to viral infections than those who do not get recurrent exacerbations. In healthy lungs the cells lining the airways produce chemicals to protect against viral infection and white blood cells clear viruses and bacteria from the lungs. We believe that in COPD the airway cells produce less of the chemical signals to fight viral infection and the white blood cells are less able to clear viruses from the lungs. To investigate this we will study 2 groups of 20 patients with COPD, one group who get frequent exacerbations and another group who do not get exacerbations. We will also recruit 20 healthy controls. We will collect white blood cells and airway cells using a bronchoscope (a thin tube passed down the airways to wash out secretions from the lung). We will collect white blood cells from participants blood and cells in the nasal passages to see if these mimic the cells in the lungs. Identifying a deficiency in chemical signalling against virus infection could lead to new treatments to protect patients with COPD against virus infections and prevent exacerbations.

  • REC name

    London - Bromley Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    9 Oct 2015

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion