Respiratory infections are primarily treated with antibiotics, drugs that are mostly inexpensive and have been widely available since the 1940s and 1950s. Nevertheless, despite antibiotics, the burden of disease in pneumonia, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, COPD and rare respiratory infections remains exceptionally high. There is an urgent need for translational studies to develop new treatments or new biomarkers to improve outcomes in these conditions. The 'translational gaps' between bench science and clinical practice are particularly challenging in respiratory infections. This is partly due to the poor representativeness of animal models of infection to human disease, and a long-term lack of investment into pulmonary infection research. The revolution in genomics and other omics technologies, however, is beginning to unlock clinically important information about the host response to infection, the behaviour of bacterial communities and the development of new antibiotics. It is not possible to review the extensive progress made in the last decade into the pathophysiology of the different respiratory infections and so here, we focus on major technologies that are now changing respiratory infection research, specifically bacterial whole-genome sequencing, the microbiota, personalized medicine with omics technologies, new antibiotic development and host inflammatory cell biology.
- Journal article