PERtussIS COrrelates of Protection Europe


Vaccines have helped to cut cases of pertussis (whooping cough) worldwide. However, recent years have seen a rise in cases and the disease remains a leading cause of infant mortality around the world. The PERISCOPE project is working to better understand how the currently available vaccines work, and to aid the development and licensing of the next generation of improved pertussis vaccines. The multi-disciplinary team will focus on three major areas. Firstly, they will set up a comprehensive clinical research programme to study the immune response of people of all ages to pertussis infection and vaccination. Secondly, they will establish tools (clinical and pre-clinical models) to study pertussis infection. Finally, they will develop a battery of state-of-the-art tests, to help reveal the markers of an effective and long-lasting immune response to pertussis infection. PERISCOPE will also seek to study immunisation in pregnancy to gain a better understanding of the impact of maternal antibodies on the infant’s immune responses to pertussis.

Achievements & News

New tools and trials combat the resurgence of whooping cough

Researchers from IMI’s PERISCOPE project hope a greater understanding of interactions between pertussis bacteria and the immune system, together with a toolkit for testing new vaccines, will help prevent whooping cough disease and deaths in babies worldwide. ###Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory tract caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. Although there is a vaccine, cases are on the rise.

PERISCOPE aims to expedite the development of a new generation of vaccines by better understanding the immune responses that mediate long-lasting protective immunity against B. pertussis. A new tool developed by PERISCOPE researchers – the ‘human challenge model’ – has already revealed that the bacterium can lie dormant for some days in the nose and throat of healthy adults, even if they have already been immunised.

‘PERISCOPE’s partners, in particular Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline – the two world leaders in whooping cough vaccine manufacturing – are already making use of the information and technologies generated by the project. Their aim is to inform and accelerate the development of their own pertussis vaccine candidates,’ explains project coordinator Ronald de Groot of Radboud University in the Netherlands.

‘Public sharing of this information is also ongoing, so the wider pertussis research community can also benefit.’

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PERISCOPE launches first of nine clinical studies

Recruitment is now open for the first clinical study under IMI’s whooping cough project PERISCOPE. The team at the UK’s University Hospital Southampton is running the study, during which healthy adults will be exposed to the bacteria Bordetella pertussis, which causes whooping cough.### Through the study, scientists hope to learn more about the immune response generated against B. pertussis and what kind of immune response protects against whooping cough. Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, causes severe coughing and can be life threatening for young children and the elderly. Although a vaccine exists, is widely used and is very effective, the incidence of whooping cough has increased in recent years and scientists are keen to find out why. By delivering tools and knowledge on the disease, PERISCOPE contributes to efforts to develop new, better vaccines against whooping cough.


  Show participants on map
EFPIA companies
  • Glaxosmithkline Biologicals SA, Rixensart, Belgium
  • Sanofi Pasteur SA, Lyon, France
Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • Academisch Ziekenhuis Leiden, Leiden, Netherlands
  • Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Commissariat A L Energie Atomique Et Aux Energies Alternatives, Paris, France
  • Department of Health, Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Institut Pasteur De Lille Fondation, Lille, France
  • London School Of Hygiene And Tropical Medicine Royal Charter, London, United Kingdom
  • Mikrobiologicky Ustav Av Cr V.V.I, Prague 4, Czech Republic
  • Rijksinstituut Voor Volksgezondheid En Milieu, Bilthoven, Netherlands
  • Stichting Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  • Universidad De Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain
  • Universitat Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • University Of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
  • University Of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
  • University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • University of Turku, Turku, Finland
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • Eurice European Research And Project Office GMBH, Saarbrücken, Germany
  • Q-Biologicals Nv, Gent, Belgium
Associated partners
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, United States
Third parties
  • Institut National De La Sante Et De La Recherche Medicale, Paris, France
  • Universitats-Kinderspital Beider Basel, Basel, Switzerland

NameEU funding in €
Academisch Ziekenhuis Leiden1 492 500
Commissariat A L Energie Atomique Et Aux Energies Alternatives1 500 243
Department of Health564 110
Eurice European Research And Project Office GMBH581 250
Imperial College Of Science Technology And Medicine (left the project)84 381
Institut Pasteur De Lille Fondation688 298
London School Of Hygiene And Tropical Medicine Royal Charter2 133 279
Mikrobiologicky Ustav Av Cr V.V.I300 000
Q-Biologicals Nv175 097
Rijksinstituut Voor Volksgezondheid En Milieu1 912 666
Stichting Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum3 592 664
Trinity College Dublin650 000
United Kingdom Research And Innovation (left the project)67 126
Universidad De Salamanca547 500
University Of Bath399 455
University of Oxford1 779 999
University Of Southampton2 561 944
University of Turku1 557 794
Université Libre de Bruxelles299 995
Third parties
NameFunding in €
Institut National De La Sante Et De La Recherche Medicale111 700
Total Cost21 000 001