Highlights from Tbilisi
On September 24th 2018 the George Eliava Institute of Bacteriophage, Microbiology and Virology in Tbilisi, Georgia, hosted the 1st partner meeting of the CURE project after the kick-off meeting held in Greece in 2017.
A lot of progress has been made during the first year of project and really interesting results were presented in the meeting. To begin with, researchers are advancing with the identification of stable elements and oscillation patterns within the virome of the respiratory tract, through a clinical study which involved 40 asthma patients and 20 healthy subjects. This first step will permit to characterise the conditions causing microbial imbalances and identify its perturbations over the following 12 months.
Furthermore, positive progress was also achieved in the sequencing metagenomics analyses, allowing us to start defining the composition, interactions, function and evolution of the microbiological environment of the airways. Also, very exciting early findings had been found on the ways phages interact with the immune system, while some partners are struggling to isolate new phages against specific targeted bacteria.
CURE is just at the beginning of an amazing journey, exploring the ecology of the new world of human and microbe co-existence. While the first steps of the project are confirming our hypothesis of viral dysbiosis in asthma, we are just starting to understand how fast and under what circumstances this is able to change. Discovering how healthy and unhealthy microbiome states change over time will enable us to know how to control them and, therefore, we will be able to develop mathematical models and future intervention strategies in the upcoming months.