Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common cause of bronchiolitis—inflammation of the small airways in the lung—in infants and young children. RSV bronchiolitis is followed by the development of asthma in nearly 50% of affected children. The aim of this proposal is to define how bacteria present in the upper airway and in the gastrointestinal tract influence the development of asthma following RSV bronchiolitis. This study will be the largest to date, consisting of more than 200 prospectively enrolled children with severe RSV bronchiolitis.
The aims of this proposal are to:
1. Evaluate the relationship between the microbiome community structure in the upper respiratory tract at the time of RSV bronchiolitis and the development of physician-diagnosed asthma and persistent wheezing in school-age children.
2. Evaluate the relationships between the fecal microbiome and recurrent wheezing over the 12-24 months following acute severe RSV bronchiolitis.
A greater understanding of the link between the microbiome and bronchiolitis may allow for the development of microbiome-directed therapies to prevent asthma and related diseases. Such therapies may include oral supplementation with prebiotic nutrients, specific live microbial species (i.e., probiotics), microbe-derived products (e.g., bacterial extracts, immune stimulants), or elimination of harmful bacteria using antibiotics.
Yanjiao Zhou, Ph.D.