A new initiative to better understand respiratory viruses is being launched by the Wellcome Sanger Institute. It aims to develop the UK’s capability for routine genomic surveillance of a number of respiratory viruses (e.g. flu, RSV, adenovirus and rhinovirus) as well as monitoring for emerging pathogens and acting as an early warning system for new viruses.
The team also plan to do research to enable better understanding of transmission and evolution of respiratory viruses, and hope that this better understanding will help generate new vaccines.
The scientists will also carry out research into the respiratory microbiome, looking at all the microbes that live in our noses, throats and lungs – and will look at how this microbiome corresponds to severity of disease and how it changes during the course of an infection. They also plan to track antimicrobial resistance, e.g. in MRSA.
Journalists dialled in to this briefing to hear about the initiative and ask their questions of the scientists involved.
Dr Ewan Harrison, Head of the Respiratory Virus & Microbiome Initiative, Wellcome Sanger Institute
Prof Judith Breuer, Professor of Virology, UCL