Respiratory viruses: from surveillance to control

Emerging and re-emerging Influenza and other respiratory viruses offer considerable threat to the overall global health of people and their economies, as evidenced by serial emergence of antigenically unique and highly pathogenic influenza strains and pandemic SARS-CoV-2 over the past two decades. Importantly, respiratory viruses have considerable potential to spread rapidly across the globe, dictating an urgent need for new and rapid response strategies for effective containment and control.


There is permanent need for a better understanding of their evolution and functional impact to the host. Virpath proposes an integrative approach to analyse epidemiology, impact, pathogenesis, characterization and control of emerging and re-emerging respiratory viruses. Our laboratory is organized in two interplaying groups (B Lina and M Rosa-Calatrava) and work on different aspects of respiratory virus biology, from the deciphering of the mechanisms leading to influenza virus emergence and pathogenesis, to the analysis of viral interplays with cells and key host factors (including innate immune response) during respiratory virus infection.  In addition, a new focus will be done on the virus/bacteria co-infection issue and the host epithelium mucosal responses by using physiological and predictive preclinical models based on reconstructed human respiratory epithelium.


In a more translational point of view, we are also interested in the mechanisms of antiviral resistance, as well as the discovery of innovative antiviral strategies targeting the host (drug repurposing) and optimization of vaccine quality and potency as new means to control influenza and pneumovirus infections. To that end, in addition to the long-standing basic skills to study influenza viruses, our laboratory has implemented new technical skills including Reverse Genetics, transcriptomic analysis of clinical specimens and a fully functional vaccine-antigen production and characterization platform. In addition, VirPath has strong connections with the National Influenza Reference Centre and the clinical research activities hosted by the Hospices Civils de Lyon. Importantly, a Technology Research Platform (VirNext) has been developed in order to enhance translational research and stimulate partnerships and transfer of technology towards the industry. Such connections resulted into a substantial portfolio of patents and transfers of technologies towards the industry, the implementation of clinical trials, the conception of several partnership devices and the creation of three start-ups (VirHealth, Signia Therapeutics and Vaxxel)  


Crédits photos: Manuel Rosa-Calatrava, INSERM co-fondateur Signia Therapeutics ; Olivier Terrier, CNRS co-fondateur Signia Therapeutics ; Andrés Pizzorno, co-fondateur Signia Therapeutics ; Elisabeth Errazuriz-Cerda  UCBL1 CIQLE. VirPath (Centre International de Recherche en Infectiologie U1111 INSERM - UMR 5308 CNRS - ENS Lyon - UCBL1), Signia Therapeutics. Colorisé par Noa Rosa C.