First CHIMICHURRI workshop: developing a strategy for new challenge flu and RSV strain selection

14 December 2021

The subtopic 2, CHIMICHURRI, dedicated to the development of new and improved Control Human Infection Models (CHIM) for influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and C. difficile held its first workshop on 24-25 November in Potters Bar, UK.

The workshop focused on finding a strategy for challenge strain selection for improving the Controlled Human Infection Models (CHIM) for influenza (i.e., flu) and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), together with the identification of relevant immune assays.

The first key step is the identification and selection of the challenge strains and defining which immune assays will be used to determine pre-existing and post challenge immunity. To this end, work packages and Task Leaders (Rebecca Cox, Christopher Chiu, Othmar Engelhardt) within the Flu and RSV models workstreams, organised a 2-day hybrid workshop on 24-25 November 2021 at National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) in Potters Bar, UK.

Despite the ongoing COVID restrictions, a dozen participants attended in person, and it was great pleasure to have key experts in the field of Flu and RSV participating in this workshop. Dr. John McCauley (Francis Crick Institute), Prof. Kanta Subbarao (WHO Collaborative Center for Influenza, Melbourne), Prof. Wendy Barclay (Imperial College London), Prof. Derek Smith (University of Cambridge), Adrian Wildfire (hVIVO, London), Prof. Colin Russell (University of Amsterdam), Dr. Ulla Buchholz (NIH), Dr. Chris Roberts (NIH), Dr. Kawsar Talaat (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Prof. Florian Krammer (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York), Dr. Charles Sande (The KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Malawi), Prof. Maria Zambon and Dr. Katja Hoschler (UK Health Security Agency) and Dr Diane Post (NIAID, NIH) were among the invited speakers. Their contribution was key in driving the discussions towards approaches for identification of challenge strains.

This meeting will be followed by another workshop expected to take place at the end of January 2022.

This project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 101007799. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA - This communication reflects only the author's view and the Joint Undertaking is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Cover image source: Unsplash @CDC