Human infections of the lower respiratory tract represent a growing health problem. In fact, the annual number of hospital admissions due to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease syndrome was worldwide estimated during 2010 in 11.9 million. The problem is even bigger when we consider the elderly population that responds to vaccination with a significantly lower efficacy.
Viruses are responsible for a majority of respiratory infections and among them human coronaviruses (CoVs) are the cause of up to 15% of all respiratory problems. Six human CoVs have been described: HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKU1, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV.
Our laboratory is focused in the design of vaccines and selection of antivirals to protect against human respiratory CoV infections by modulating the innate immune response in the young and elderly population.