The PEARL study was launched in Lebanon in 2016 to evaluate the proportions and distribution of community-acquired pneumonia attributable to the different viral and bacterial pathogens in refugee and Lebanese populations.

Context and scientific objectives

Despite increasing concerns about high rates of morbidity from respiratory infections in refugee camps, the etiology of community-acquired pneumonia among children and adults in the midst of a humanitarian crisis is unknown.

The PEARL study will be the first to systematically establish the prevalence and role of pathogenic microorganisms in the respiratory tract during a humanitarian crisis. This will provide an evidence base to evaluate epidemiological risks, design public health interventions such as vaccination, and develop effective treatments.


The project is a prospective multi-center case-control study with 600 cases and 600 controls in the Bekaa Valley and the Akkar/Tripoli region (the main entry points for Syrian refugees). Pathogenic viruses and bacteria are detected in nasopharyngeal or sputum swabs, blood and urine samples and Streptococcus pneumoniae typing is performed using multiplex PCR.



  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Mérieux Foundation


  • Saint Joseph University, Beirut
  • Lebanese University, Tripoli
  • The NGO Al-Bashaer
  • The NGO Amel
  • Chtoura Hospital
  • BioFire Diagnostics
  • Bioteck
  • Université de Lyon
  • Mérieux Foundation

Read more: https://www.fondation-merieux.org/en/projects/pearl/