Our viral challenge models and human challenge trials are the ideal solution to study and develop innovative treatments for exacerbations in asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and specific or broad spectrum antivirals. Whether you’re a small biotech or a multinational pharmaceutical organisation, in VirTus you’ll find scientific respiratory expertise, and cost-effective NME (new medical entity) development.

VirTus Human Challenge & Viral Challenge Models

The human challenge models facilitated by VirTus offer an innovative new development pathway for the testing of antivirals, as well as medicines aiming to reduce symptoms associated with asthma and COPD exacerbations.

You can use human challenge trials to test both proof of concept and proof of mechanism in an incredibly efficient timeframe. Moreover, the costs involved in viral challenge models are just a fraction of those needed for traditional RCT (randomised controlled trial) studies.

This is streamlined development of groundbreaking respiratory treatments. This is accelerated, efficient clinical testing for go/ no-go decision making. This is the VirTus vision.

World Leaders in Respiratory Medical Research

VirTus is committed to international standards of academic integrity and scientific rigour in human challenge trials. Our team possesses globally-renowned expertise in biopharmacology, and we conduct some of the most accurate and efficient human challenge models in the field of respiratory medicine.

Academic Proficiency, CRO Expertise

There’s a good reason we describe ourselves as ‘an academic brain with a CRO’s body.’ In VirTus you’ll find far more than the average clinical research organisation; we offer a unique blend of world-class expertise in respiratory medicine and high-quality management services.

Groundbreaking Clinical Research

Alongside our clients, project partners and volunteers, we support the design and development of exciting new medicinal treatments for respiratory conditions. Human challenge trials and viral challenge models facilitated by VirTus use state-of-the-art technology to constantly innovate and generate new possibilities in respiratory healthcare.

Rhinovirus (RV) Human Challenge Models

The most common viral infectious agent in humans, rhinovirus infections typically cause the common cold (as well as pneumonia, bronchiolitis and ear/eye infections). RV human challenge models study, observe and analyse the ways in which volunteers respond to rhinovirus agents, and help in the development of NMEs.

We offer RV human challenge trials in the following volunteer groups:

  • Healthy non-smokers
  • Smokers without airway obstruction
  • Asthma patients
  • COPD patients
  • Healthy older persons
  • Chronic cough patients

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Human Challenge Models

RSV (or human orthopneumovirus) is a common airborne viral agent that causes infections in the respiratory tract. It typically carries light to mild, cold-like symptoms, though it can be more dangerous – particularly in young children and older persons. Our human challenge models help support innovations in RSV-related treatments and medicines.

We offer RSV human challenge trials in the following volunteer groups:

  • Healthy non-smokers
  • Healthy older persons

Sampling Techniques

In addition to the above viral challenge models, we offer the following sampling techniques to complement our human challenge models. Each technique is carried out at the highest standards of international medicine; our team will be happy to answer any questions or provide you with further information.

Lower airways:

  • Lung function/Spirometry
  • Histamine (PC20) challenge
  • Bronchial biopsy
  • Primary bronchial epithelial cell brushings including culture ex vivo
  • Synthetic absorptive matrix (SAM) sampling of lower airways (broncho sorption)
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)
  • Induced sputum
  • Immune cell analysis in lower airways by state-of-the-art flow cytometry

Upper airways:

  • Nasal curettage for gene expression or flow cytometry
  • Nasal brushings including culture ex vivo
  • Synthetic absorptive matrix (SAM) sampling of nasal mucosa (nasosorption)
  • Immune cell analysis in upper airways

Explore Our Clinical Trial Services

Whether you’re looking for help with clinical process management, lab services, volunteer recruitment, vaccine and medicine development – or any other international-standard clinical trials services – VirTus is here to support your organisation.

With creative problem-solving and a bespoke academic approach, we’re flexible in execution, and we’ll adapt our clinical services to interlock seamlessly with your operational goals.

Interested in Taking Part in a Human Challenge Trial?

Our innovative human challenge models are only possible due to the participation of volunteers.

As a human challenge trial volunteer, you’ll have a rewarding experience at the cutting edge of biopharmaceutical development, and receive the opportunity to learn about respiratory research alongside our team of world-class experts.

Get in touch

To learn more about our human challenge models and viral challenge models, or explore innovative opportunities to develop groundbreaking new medicines in respiratory healthcare, contact us today.


Leading Respiratory Research from VirTus

Our human challenge trials, vaccine development and other groundbreaking respiratory research has been recognised in a number of high-profile scientific journals. We’re also regularly featured at academic conferences. Explore our news and resources centre to find out more.

Keep Updated With Our Progress

Keep up with the latest results, news and other headlines from Virtus Respiratory Research.