NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

Consequence of RSV infection in young infants

This project is led from Bangladesh, also working with partners in India and Pakistan


  • Project title: Consequence of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection in young infants
  • Acute or chronic:  Acute
  • Based at:  Child Health Research Foundation
  • Start date:  August 2019
  • End date:  November 2021
  • Principal investigator:  Samir K Saha
  • Project team:  Mohammad Shahidul Islam, Harish Nair, Steve Cunningham, Jurgen Schwarze, Abdullah H Baqui, Muhammad Imran Nisar, Zulfiqar A Bhutta, Shams El Arifeen, Pinaki Panigrahi, Sajid Soofi, Tabish Hazir, Hana Mahmood, Salahuddin Ahmed, Sanjay Juvekar, Ashish Bavdekar


Each year, an estimated 33.1 million episodes of Respiratory Syncytial Virus associated acute lower respiratory tract infections (RSV-LRTI) occur globally in children under five.

In addition to acute morbidity and mortality, RSV-LRTI has long-term effects on children’s health. RSV-LRTI is associated with recurrent wheeze in the year following infection and with the development of childhood asthma, which in turn is a major risk factor of asthma in adulthood and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The burden of RSV-LRTI in infants age 0-5m is up to 10x higher in low- and middle-income countries, suggesting that post-RSV associated recurrent wheeze and asthma frequency may be higher too.

We know little about the long-term effects of RSV infection in infants in developing healthcare systems – collecting clinical samples from young infants and a lack of an appropriate diagnostic to detect RSV virus are major obstacles to studying the infection in such countries.

Aim and impact

The aim is to investigate long-term effects of RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection in young children, especially the prevalence of asthma and wheeze, based at sites within Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Data from this study will help us appreciate the implications of introducing an RSV vaccine when it becomes available. These efforts may save the lives of young children in the future and improve their quality of life.

Key developments

  • The research plan was discussed with key stakeholders of the host countries, including over 200 health care professionals, health journalists, social elites and parents at a symposium in the Bangladesh Institute of Child Health on World Pneumonia Day 2018.
  • The study identified 2,034 eligible children at four sites; Sylhet (n=609), Karachi (n=509), Matiari (n=567), and Odisha (n=349).         
  • Poster presentation on the feasibility of exercise tolerance test at the community setting for diagnosing exercise-induced airway hyperresponsiveness in children in low resource settings was presented at the ERS Virtual International Congress 2020.
  • A systematic review paper is in progress.

Project data

Download the project Data Management Plan 

View the project metadata on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway

Embedded PhD project

RESPIRE PhD student Mohammad Shahidul Islam is conducting an embedded project as part of this wider study.

Find out more about Shahidul's PhD