Lung problems can come quickly (“acute”, often due to infection), or slowly (“chronic” due to lung damage or long-term diseases).
Acute lung disease, such as pneumonia can be life threatening (by causing sepsis). Antibiotics are important, but other treatments available to doctors are not well understood (including oxygen and intravenous fluids). We research how critically unwell patients should be monitored and treated so that we can make clinical guidelines which will reduce deaths and the improve quality of care which patients receive.
We research what causes chronic lung disease in Malawi, and how it can best be treated. This includes asthma, lung damage due to tuberculosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, or “chronic bronchitis”). It is clear that early life events, sometimes even before birth, can alter a person’s lung function in later life. We try to understand the importance of these events (including air pollution exposure and nutrition) so that we can recommend action to avoid damage in the first place.
We also want to prevent lung infection, in healthy people and in those who already have health problems. To help develop vaccines, we use carefully controlled human infection to understand the immune system, and to test promising immunisations so that they can be brought to market sooner, and at lower cost.