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  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Multi-centre EuRopean study of MAjor Infectious Disease Syndromes (MERMAIDS): Acute Respiratory Infections in Adults



  • Contact name

    Heather House

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    University of Oxford

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    2 years, 7 months, 28 days

  • Research summary

    Pathogens causing acute respiratory infections (ARI) are among the most likely candidates to cause the next pandemic. We need to better understand why some people become much more ill than others when they have an ARI.\n\nPopulations at general risk of developing severe disease are well known, such as the elderly, people with chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular or metabolic disease or immunocompromised patients. However, some respiratory infections can also cause severe disease in younger previously healthy individuals due to a combination of the virus itself and the individual’s immune responses.\n\nIt is likely that individual risk factors affect the body’s response to ARI in different ways and this in turn can influence the severity of disease. Within broad risk groups it is currently not possible to predict which individuals are at increased risk of becoming severely ill. Consequently, there are no opportunities to tailor preventive and therapeutic interventions. In people who become moderately or severely ill, there is an assumption that the body’s underlying response to disease is the same and hence that everyone will benefit equally from the same treatments. Increased insight into how different individuals respond to respiratory pathogens can allow us to better anticipate severity at individual patient levels. This in turn will enable us to formulate strategies for individualized treatment options to reduce disease severity, risk of complications and hospitalisations.\n\nIn this study we will recruit people attending primary and secondary care in order to capture people with mild to severe ARI. We will analyse samples to observe individual gene activity and we will compare samples from people with different risk factors for more severe disease. This will provide a detailed insight into how the body responds to infection and provide opportunities to understand the specific contributions of different risk factors. [COVID-19 amendment - 18/05/2020]

  • REC name

    West Midlands - Black Country Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    27 Aug 2015

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion