BLIPA – Bacterial Lysate in Preventing Asthma


Why the research project is important

Viral infections in the lower respiratory tract can cause bronchiolitis, and this is the leading cause of hospitalisation in young children. Approximately 13,500 infants are hospitalised each year in Australia with bronchiolitis, due most commonly to respiratory syncytial virus and rhinovirus. Severe bronchiolitis also places these children at risk of developing wheeze and asthma. Therefore, it is important to identify treatments to prevent the development of wheeze and asthma.

What the research seeks to do

There is evidence that exposure to bacterial products can protect against the development of wheeze in young children. One way to mimic exposure to bacterial products is through a lysate which contains killed bacterial extracts. Together with our research partners in the UK, we are investigating whether the administration of a bacterial lysate Broncho Vaxom (BV), also called OM-85, can reduce wheeze in children hospitalised with bronchiolitis.

We are conducting a double-blind randomised controlled trial that will recruit 120 Australian children from Brisbane, Sydney, Darwin and Melbourne. Infants will take BV or a placebo for two years after their hospital admission for bronchiolitis. This forms part of a larger RCT underway in the UK which aims to recruit a further 774 infants.

What are the research outcomes/ impact

The main outcome we are investigating is whether BV reduces doctor diagnosed wheeze 19-24 months after starting the medication. We are also investigating whether the use of BV reduces the development of eczema, allergies, asthma and other medication use such as antibiotics or corticosteroids for asthma. We will also investigate if BV reduces hospital or doctor visits for wheeze and asthma.

Blood, saliva and stool samples are also being taken during the study which will allow us to understand how BV may work to help prevent wheeze.

If our hypothesis is correct, this study will provide a treatment to help prevent the development of wheeze and asthma in children hospitalized with bronchiolitis.

Funding Body

The study is being funded in Australia by a grant from the NHMRC Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Further Details

Learn about the Cough and Airways Research Group (CAARG).

For further information, please contact investigator Prof Stephanie Yerkovich at


Prof Anne Chang

A/Prof Julie Marchant

Dr Margaret McElrea

Prof Stephanie Yerkovich

Prof Steven McPhail

Dr Hannah O?Farrell

Dr Vikas Goyal

Partners – Australia

Prof Keith Grimwood (Griffith University)

Prof Hiran Selvadurai (The Children’s Hospital at Westmead)

Dr Danielle Wurzel (Royal Children’s Hospital)

Dr Gabrielle McCallum (Menzies School of Health Research)

A/Prof Robyn Marsh (Menzies School of Health Research)

Prof Peter Morris (Menzies School of Health Research)

Partners – UK

Prof Jonathan Grigg (Queen Mary University of London)

Prof Debby Bogaert (The University of Edinburgh)