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PROMISE project puts spotlight on common respiratory infection

The new project focuses on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), an infectious disease that can cause severe illness in young children and other vulnerable groups.

Coloured wooden blocks spelling out RSV. Image by chrupka via Shutterstock
Image by chrupka via Shutterstock

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an infectious disease that can cause severe illness in young children as well as the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Globally, an estimated 33 million young children are diagnosed with RSV every year, and over 3 million are hospitalised. Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for RSV, although a number of products are in clinical trials or earlier stages of clinical development.

The aim of PROMISE is to significantly advance our understanding of RSV to aid in the design of public health strategies as well as the development and use of vaccines and therapeutics in both children and older people. It builds on the work of IMI’s RESCEU project, which has delivered significant insights and resources on RSV.

The project plans to address current knowledge gaps on RSV, such as the relationship between RSV infection and school age wheeze and asthma. They will also identify new diagnostic tools and study biological markers of RSV infection. In addition, the project will develop a surveillance network on RSV, a resource that will provide valuable information on respiratory infections in the community. Finally, PROMISE will attempt to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the spread of RSV, especially among older adults.

Project leader Charlotte Vernhes Sanofi Pasteur said: ‘Building on the strong collaborations established in RESCEU, PROMISE will further expand our knowledge of RSV and pave the way for the successful rollout of novel RSV immunisation strategies addressing a high global unmet need.’

‘We are now within sight of multiple products to immunise against RSV in different population groups and this project aims to lay the groundwork to facilitate the early introduction and uptake of these products in Europe,’ said project scientific co-coordinator Harish Nair of the University of Edinburgh.

Fellow co-coordinator Louis Bont of the Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht added: ‘Combining scientific data with patient involvement will help guide the introduction of novel therapeutics and vaccines for RSV, one of the most important respiratory diseases.’ 

PROMISE will run until April 2024 and has a total budget of EUR 7 million, with around half coming from IMI and half coming from EFPIA.

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