Understanding asthma phenotypes: the World Asthma Phenotypes (WASP) international collaboration

ERJ Open Res. 2018 Aug 22;4(3):00013-2018. doi: 10.1183/23120541.00013-2018. eCollection 2018 Jul.


The World Asthma Phenotypes (WASP) study started in 2016 and has been conducted in five centres, in the UK, New Zealand, Brazil, Ecuador and Uganda. The objectives of this study are to combine detailed biomarker and clinical information in order to 1) better understand and characterise asthma phenotypes in high-income countries (HICs) and low and middle-income countries (LMICs), and in high and low prevalence centres; 2) compare phenotype characteristics, including clinical severity; 3) assess the risk factors for each phenotype; and 4) assess how the distribution of phenotypes differs between high prevalence and low prevalence centres. Here we present the rationale and protocol for the WASP study to enable other centres around the world to carry out similar analyses using a standardised protocol. Large collaborative and integrative studies like this are essential to further our understanding of asthma phenotypes. The findings of this study will help elucidate the aetiological mechanisms of asthma and might potentially identify new causes and guide the development of new treatments, thereby enabling better management and prevention of asthma in both HICs and LMICs.