Exploring the epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus in young children in the community using sparse serological survey data

Year of award: 2017


  • Dr Pia Hardelid

    University College London

Project summary

Bronchiolitis caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) leads to over 30,000 hospital admissions annually in infants in England. RSV infection only confers transient immunity and early RSV infection is associated with asthma in later childhood. Several vaccine candidates are currently in clinical trials. We currently know very little about how age at first infection is affected by, for example, the number and age of siblings, or what factors influence protection from maternal antibodies.

We will carry out the first community serosurvey of RSV in the UK using a unique collection of serial blood samples from babies linked to maternal, family and symptom data from the Born in Bradford study. We will develop novel statistical methods to estimate the age at first and subsequent RSV infection in the first two years of life, and validate our findings against parent questionnaires and routinely collected primary care data.

This study will provide important information about who to vaccinate, and when, to ensure babies are protected from early RSV infection. It will develop; novel methods to estimate age at infection from sparse serological data, and validated methods for a larger, pan-European study of the role of RSV infection in early life and respiratory health in later childhood.