Press release

Covid legacy highlights need for good respiratory health, says expert

Published on 2 July 2024

Health complications brought about by the pandemic have helped to make the public aware of the importance of respiratory health, a University of Dundee expert has said.

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More than 700 experts will arrive in Dundee this week for the World Bronchiectasis Conference, three days of events to highlight the increasingly common illness.

While affecting tens of millions of people, there has traditionally been little public awareness of bronchiectasis and the significant impact it can have on a patient’s health.

Professor James Chalmers, the world’s leading authority on the condition, based at Dundee’s School of Medicine and conference Chair, said that making the public aware of its impact was hugely important.

“Since the pandemic there is a greater awareness of respiratory health and the impact that illnesses affecting this can have on our day-to-day lives,” he said.

“However, respiratory health is so much more than Covid-19 and conditions like bronchiectasis affect hundreds of thousands of people here in the UK alone, and millions more around the world, with debilitating and long-lasting implications.

“Despite being more common than conditions such as MS or Parkinson’s disease, which are relatively well-known, not many have heard of bronchiectasis. This needs to change.”

Experts from around the world will attend the World Bronchiectasis Conference, which runs from 4-6 July at the University’s Dalhousie Building.

The event will allow members of the respiratory health community to exchange knowledge and provide updates on the latest research breakthroughs.

The University is the world’s leading centre for research into bronchiectasis, a chronic lung disease that affects around 300,000 people in the UK. While a small percentage of cases are genetic, little is known as to how and why people are impacted by the condition, which is often indicated by a persistent cough. Numbers of bronchiectasis have soared in the past decade, highlighting the urgent need for new treatments.

Last month, it was announced that the world’s first potential therapy for bronchiectasis – brensocatib - had been identified following a trial led by Professor Chalmers and Insmed, the global biopharmaceutical company. 

Findings of the ASPEN study indicated that participants given brensocatib experienced significant reductions in pulmonary exacerbations, another common symptom. The first detailed results of the trial will be presented at the conference in Dundee.

Professor Chalmers added, “Bringing this conference to Dundee is very exciting. I am told it will bring well over £1m to the Dundee economy, and more importantly, the science we will be sharing over the coming days has the potential to have a major impact on people with respiratory disease around the world. We are so proud of our Dundee team who are leading the world in respiratory science.”


Jonathan Watson

Senior Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489