The project PreDicta ended March 31st 2016. You can read about the research activities for the past five and a half years in the final publishable summary (Pdf).
Publishable Summary of the last period of the project (1st Avril 2015 to 31st March 2016 ) is available here.
Towards serological tests for the identification of RV strains causing asthma exacerbations
Work from PreDicta provides for the first time evidence that increases of antibodies against a portion of the rhinovirus coat protein VP1 might be strain-specificsurrogate markers for the severity of rhinovirus-induced respiratory symptoms.
Acute exacerbations of asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) have been closely linked to the presence of respiratory viruses, in particular Rhinoviruses (RVs).In a recently published study (Niespodziana, K., et al., EBioMedicine, 2014, in press), Predicta teams from the Medical University of Vienna and the Imperial College London were able to show that increases of rhinovirus-specific antibodies are associated with the severity of rhinovirus-induced respiratory symptoms. The groups have analysed serum samples of asthmatic patients and healthy individuals who were experimentally infected with rhinovirus strain 16. They observed that increases of IgG1 antibody production specific for recombinant N-terminal fragments from the representative VP1 virus coat proteins were group-specific and highest in subjects with severe upper and lower respiratory symptoms. Taken together their findings indicate that it may be possible to use the N-terminal portions of the VP1 coat proteins from different rhinovirus strains to identify the most common and clinically relevant rhinovirus strains involved in rhinovirus-induced exacerbations of asthma. The work thus provides for the first time serological tests for identifying the culprit rhinovirus strains involved in rhinovirus-induced asthma exacerbations. Furthermore, such serological tests may form a basis for the rational design of vaccines for rhinovirus infections and may help to define risk groups of persons that should be vaccinated.
Niespodziana, K., et al., Rhinovirus-induced VP1-specific Antibodies are Group-specific and Associated With Severity of Respiratory Symptoms, EBioMedicine (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2014.11.012.
In October 2013 11 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) proposed a draft Written Declaration on recognising the burden of allergic disease, calling upon the Commission and Member States to recognise the burden of allergic disease and develop policy tools to combat this illness. At the end of the consultation period, the Declaration was supported by a total of 178 MEPs.
Researchers at the Medical University of Vienna have developed an antibody test
No cure against common cold exists currently and so far no vaccine has been produced. This could now change as the PreDicta team based at the Medical University of Vienna (MUW) has recently developed an antibody test to be used in at least severe cases.
The cold virus (Rhinovirus) is in fact a major cause of acute asthma attacks or the lung disease COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). In the framework of PreDicta, Rudolf Valenta (Head of Department of Immunopathology at MUW) and his team have developed a rhinovirus chip, similar to that already developed by the team that allows the detection of possible allergies using fluorescence labeled antibodies. Using a simple blood test, it is now possible to determine which pathogens from the large family of rhinoviruses are involved in acute asthma attacks.
"If a rhinovirus is detected, it is most likely the cause of the attack. If we know the causative agent, we can vaccinate against it «says Rudolf Valenta. The chip allows at once to categorize the many different rhinovirus strains and to identify the most dangerous specimen. Subsequently, as in the case of the flu, we would thus be able to define risk groups that should be vaccinated.
Rudolf Valenta and his group have found in previous studies that although the human body produces antibodies against cold viruses, these are essentially ineffective since they fight the virus from the inside and not the virus shell, which allows the virus to lodge firmly to the mucosal membranes.