Bacterial infection is a major cause of death in young children, accounting for over a quarter of all child deaths globally. Death from bacterial infection in children has persisted despite the availability of antimicrobial agents and childhood vaccines; this highlights the need for a better understanding of the inflammatory response to infection, for novel treatments of acute infection, for new methods to identify those at risk, and for better preventative strategies. There is now clear evidence that genetic factors are major determinants of both the susceptibility and the outcome of infectious diseases. Identification of the genes responsible, and the biological processes they control, is likely to be a powerful method to understand the immunopathogenesis of childhood infection, and for identifying those in the population who are at risk of infection or poor outcome, thus enabling the development of new treatment and preventative strategies.
This Childhood Life-threatening Infectious Disease Study (EUCLIDS) is a 5-year FP7 project funded by the European Union (GA #279182). We aim to undertake a large-scale genomic study to identify the genes, and biological pathways they control, which determine susceptibility and severity in life-threatening bacterial infections of childhood in Europe and globally. We will use meningococcal disease as the prototypic model to develop an integrated staged approach to identify the genetic basis of both susceptibility to infection and severity of disease in those affected, and then apply this model to the other major bacterial infections of childhood.
Annual Meeting November 2013