During the current COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, LSTM's Respiratory Clinical Research Group wants to know whether people infected with COVID-19 are more susceptible to also having pneumococcal pneumonia and whether having both infections leads to more severe disease.
Pneumococcus can be found in the nose of 7% of adults and 50% of children at any one time without causing illness, in a small proportion of these people the bacteria can reach the lungs and cause pneumonia. Pneumonia burden is particularly high in the elderly, which is also the population suffering from severe COVID-19 and high numbers of deaths.
From previous research, the Group knows that having Pneumococcus in the nose may also lead to more people in the community spreading some viruses, like the pandemic (H1N1) or seasonal flu. Is this the same with the Coronavirus?
The Respiratory Clinical Research Group wants to learn more also about how the immune system reacts to Coronavirus, what are the markers of a good body response and whether these are different when people are co-infected with Pneumococcus. Other important questions the group will study are how both virus and bacteria are transmitted between humans and if having the virus leads to larger amounts of Pneumococcus in the nose and more transmission.
This research is a partnership between LSTM and commercial partners, and the Group will gather important information to help with COVID-19 vaccine discovery.
To find out more about the research studies the Group is doing, please go to:
The FASTER study: Facilitating A SARS CoV-2 TEst for Rapid triage (further information imminent)
The SAFER study: SARS-CoV-2 Acquisition in Frontline Health Care Workers – Evaluation to Inform Response