Fondation Merieux

A family foundation dedicated to fighting infectious diseases

Respiratory Infections Research Programme

Strategic priority: respiratory infections

20% of child deaths under the age of 5 are caused by acute lower respiratory tract infections (pneumonia, bronchiolitis and bronchitis), 90% of these deaths being caused by pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia causes 500,000 to 1,4 million deaths each year worldwide.

Naturally, these diseases (pneumonia, bronchiolitis, tuberculosis and influenza) are the Foundation target priority with its research programmes.

Multi-center epidemiological studies

The Foundation's teams conducted epidemiological studies on respiratory diseases in conjunction with Lyon University Hospitals and three Chinese hospitals (Beijing Pediatric Hospital, Peking Union Medical College Hospital and Chao Yang Hospital). The data from these epidemiological investigations are of particular interest in that they will help guide healthcare and prevention policies for respiratory diseases. This research has given rise to several scientific publications on the infectious causes of respiratory diseases in adults and children in China and in children in France.

Identification of new pathogenic agents

Detecting and characterizing unknown pathogenic agents is at the heart of the Foundation’s research programmes. In this way, two new viruses responsible for severe respiratory infections were identified in 2008:

  • A rhinovirus group C by the Beijing Unit

  • A TTV virus by the Lyon teams

This research has been the subject of publications and patents.

New diagnostic tools for pneumonia and bronchioliti

The Foundation's teams worked on the development of multidetection tests in partnership with the American company Luminex and the Luxembourish company FastTrack Diagnostics. These tests are made available to biologists in the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratories and reference laboratories in developing countries.

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