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JMIR Res Protoc. 2019 Jun 6;8(6):e12907. doi: 10.2196/12907.

Aims, Study Design, and Enrollment Results From the Assessing Predictors of Infant Respiratory Syncytial Virus Effects and Severity Study.

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University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, United States.
Contributed equally



The majority of infants hospitalized with primary respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection have no obvious risk factors for severe disease.


The aim of this study (Assessing Predictors of Infant RSV Effects and Severity, AsPIRES) was to identify factors associated with severe disease in full-term healthy infants younger than 10 months with primary RSV infection.


RSV infected infants were enrolled from 3 cohorts during consecutive winters from August 2012 to April 2016 in Rochester, New York. A birth cohort was prospectively enrolled and followed through their first winter for development of RSV infection. An outpatient supplemental cohort was enrolled in the emergency department or pediatric offices, and a hospital cohort was enrolled on admission with RSV infection. RSV was diagnosed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Demographic and clinical data were recorded and samples collected for assays: buccal swab (cytomegalovirus polymerase chain reaction, PCR), nasal swab (RSV qualitative PCR, complete viral gene sequence, 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid [RNA] amplicon microbiota analysis), nasal wash (chemokine and cytokine assays), nasal brush (nasal respiratory epithelial cell gene expression using RNA sequencing [RNAseq]), and 2 to 3 ml of heparinized blood (flow cytometry, RNAseq analysis of purified cluster of differentiation [CD]4+, CD8+, B cells and natural killer cells, and RSV-specific antibody). Cord blood (RSV-specific antibody) was also collected for the birth cohort. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression will be used for analysis of data using a continuous Global Respiratory Severity Score (GRSS) as the outcome variable. Novel statistical methods will be developed for integration of the large complex datasets.


A total of 453 infants were enrolled into the 3 cohorts; 226 in the birth cohort, 60 in the supplemental cohort, and 78 in the hospital cohort. A total of 126 birth cohort infants remained in the study and were evaluated for 150 respiratory illnesses. Of the 60 RSV positive infants in the supplemental cohort, 42 completed the study, whereas all 78 of the RSV positive hospital cohort infants completed the study. A GRSS was calculated for each RSV-infected infant and is being used to analyze each of the complex datasets by correlation with disease severity in univariate and multivariate methods.


The AsPIRES study will provide insights into the complex pathogenesis of RSV infection in healthy full-term infants with primary RSV infection. The analysis will allow assessment of multiple factors potentially influencing the severity of RSV infection including the level of RSV specific antibodies, the innate immune response of nasal epithelial cells, the adaptive response by various lymphocyte subsets, the resident airway microbiota, and viral factors. Results of this study will inform disease interventions such as vaccines and antiviral therapies.


T-lymphocytes; gene expression; immunoglobulins; innate immunity; microbiota; respiratory syncytial virus; transcriptome

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