FAMILY MICRO Study: Family ReseArch of MIcrobes Linked to RespiratorY Infections

Portrait Of Parents Giving Children Piggybacks stock photo

This study aims to learn more about how healthy adults and children are protected or not against respiratory infections.

Many children and adults carry bacteria in their noses and mouth. We constantly share these bacteria with our family members and hands are shown to be the main route of bacterial transmission. The types and numbers of bacteria we carry change with our age and lifestyle habits. This change makes some people sharing households more likely to get a respiratory infection. We hope that by studying bacteria in the nose, mouth and hands of family members and how different factors influence their change over time, we can use this information to better prevent and treat respiratory infections in the future.

Who can take part?

  • A family of 3-5 members – 2 adults aged 18-60 years and 1-3 children aged 28 days – 17 years
  • Living in or near Liverpool
  • Capable of giving informed consent
  • Fluent in English - to make sure you completely understand the research project and what it involves. This helps us keep our participants safe.

Who cannot take part?

People who have/are:

  • Taking daily medications that may affect microbes e.g. long-term antibiotics or immunosuppressants (including oral steroids)
  • Received immunosuppressants or antibiotics in the preceding 28 days (the start date can be delayed)
  • A history of repeated respiratory infections requiring hospitalisation
  • A disease or syndrome associated with changes in the immune system or to respiratory or gut microbes (such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis or diabetes, asthma with medication/COPD) or other respiratory conditions (including cystic fibrosis or bronchiectasis)
  • A current serious respiratory infection
  • Children with disabilities that lead to them being unable to do the study sampling

What will happen?

If your family meets these conditions and you choose to take part, a member of our research team will show you how you and your children can collect samples of fluid from inside your nose, a small amount of saliva and hand swabs. Then we will ask you to collect samples at home every 2 weeks for 6 months, as well as fill in some questionnaires. 



Please contact the research team for further information on:


or email:

This study is approved by the North West-Greater Manchester West Research Ethics Committee (REC REF: 20/NW/0304, IRAS ID: 284708, Protocol No: 20-054), ISRCTN registered and funded by the LSTM & Wellcome Trust Director’s Catalyst Fund 2020