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Concept: Human respiratory syncytial virus


Acute respiratory infections are a major cause of morbidity in children both in developed and developing countries. A wide range of respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A and B viruses, parainfluenza viruses (PIVs), adenovirus, rhinovirus (HRV), have repeatedly been detected in acute lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) in children in the past decades. However, in the last ten years thanks to progress in molecular technologies, newly discovered viruses have been identified including human Metapneumovirus (hMPV), coronaviruses NL63 (HcoV-NL63) and HKU1 (HcoV-HKU1), human Bocavirus (HBoV), new enterovirus (HEV), parechovirus (HpeV) and rhinovirus (HRV) strains, polyomaviruses WU (WUPyV) and KI (KIPyV) and the pandemic H1N1v influenza A virus. These discoveries have heavily modified previous knowledge on respiratory infections mainly highlighting that pediatric population is exposed to a variety of viruses with similar seasonal patterns. In this context establishing a causal link between a newly identified virus and the disease as well as an association between mixed infections and an increase in disease severity can be challenging. This review will present an overview of newly recognized as well as the main emerging respiratory viruses and seek to focus on the their contribution to infection and co-infection in LRTIs in childhood.

Concepts: Microbiology, Virus, Infection, Antiviral drug, Influenza, Influenza pandemic, Respiratory system, Human respiratory syncytial virus


BACKGROUND: Individuals with deficiencies of pulmonary surfactant protein C (SP-C) develop interstitial lung disease (ILD) that is exacerbated by viral infections including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). SP-C gene targeted mice (Sftpc -/-) lack SP-C, develop an ILD-like disease and are susceptible to infection with RSV. METHODS: In order to determine requirements for correction of RSV induced injury we have generated compound transgenic mice where SP-C expression can be induced on the Sftpc -/- background (SP-C/Sftpc -/-) by the administration of doxycycline (dox). The pattern of induced SP-C expression was determined by immunohistochemistry and processing by Western blot analysis. Tissue and cellular inflammation was measured following RSV infection and the RSV-induced cytokine response of isolated Sftpc +/+ and -/- type II cells determined. RESULTS: After 5 days of dox administration transgene SP-C mRNA expression was detected by RT-PCR in the lungs of two independent lines of bitransgenic SP-C/Sftpc -/- mice (lines 55.3 and 54.2). ProSP-C was expressed in the lung, and mature SP-C was detected by Western blot analysis of the lavage fluid from both lines of SP-C/Sftpc -/- mice. Induced SP-C expression was localized to alveolar type II cells by immunostaining with an antibody to proSP-C. Line 55.3 SP-C/Sftpc -/- mice were maintained on or off dox for 7 days and infected with 2.6x107 RSV pfu. On day 3 post RSV infection total inflammatory cell counts were reduced in the lavage of dox treated 55.3 SP-C/Sftpc -/- mice (p = 0.004). The percentage of neutrophils was reduced (p = 0.05). The viral titers of lung homogenates from dox treated 55.3 SP-C/Sftpc -/- mice were decreased relative to 55.3 SP-C/Sftpc -/- mice without dox (p = 0.01). The cytokine response of Sftpc -/- type II cells to RSV was increased over that of Sftpc +/+ cells. CONCLUSIONS: Transgenic restoration of SP-C reduced inflammation and improved viral clearance in the lungs of SP-C deficient mice. The loss of SP-C in alveolar type II cells compromises their response to infection. These findings show that the restoration of SP-C in Sftpc -/- mice in response to RSV infection is a useful model to determine parameters for therapeutic intervention.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Gene, Gene expression, Molecular biology, Pulmonology, Infection, Human respiratory syncytial virus


Influenza is a severe disease in humans and animals with few effective therapies available. All strains of influenza virus are prone to developing drug resistance due to the high mutation rate in the viral genome. A therapeutic agent that targets a highly conserved region of the virus could bypass resistance and also be effective against multiple strains of influenza. Influenza uses many individually weak ligand-binding interactions for a high-avidity multivalent attachment to sialic acid-bearing cells. Polymerized sialic acid analogs can form multivalent interactions with influenza, but are not ideal therapeutics due to solubility and toxicity issues. We used liposomes as a novel means for delivery of the glycan sialylneolacto-N-tetraose c (LSTc). LSTc-bearing decoy liposomes form multivalent, polymer-like interactions with influenza virus. Decoy liposomes competitively bind influenza virus in hemagglutination inhibition assays and inhibit infection of target cells in a dose-dependent manner. Inhibition is specific for influenza virus, as inhibition of Sendai virus and respiratory syncytial virus is not observed. In contrast, monovalent LSTc does not bind influenza virus or inhibit infectivity. LSTc decoy liposomes prevent the spread of influenza virus during multiple rounds of replication in vitro and extend survival of mice challenged with a lethal dose of virus. LSTc decoy liposomes co-localize with fluorescently tagged influenza virus, while control liposomes do not. Considering the conservation of the hemagglutinin binding pocket and the ability of decoy liposomes to form high avidity interactions with influenza hemagglutinin, our decoy liposomes have potential as a new therapeutic agent against emerging influenza strains.

Concepts: Microbiology, Sialic acid, Therapy, Influenza, Human respiratory syncytial virus, Orthomyxoviridae, Influenza A virus, Influenzavirus A


Immune globulins for IgG supplementation have been produced for over 35 years with essentially no differentiating features regarding their specific antibody composition. Furthermore, the compositions of plasma donor pools used for IG manufacturing are not standardized. While all immune globulin products meet the specifications set by the US FDA for antibodies to pathogens like measles and polio, they have variable levels of antibodies to other important viruses and infectious pathogens, particularly respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Infectious disease, Bacteria, Immunology, Intravenous immunoglobulin, Human respiratory syncytial virus, Gamma globulin


Clinical signs and symptoms of different airway pathogens are generally indistinguishable, making laboratory tests essential for clinical decisions regarding isolation and antiviral therapy. Immunochromatographic tests (ICT) and direct immunofluorescence assays (DFA) have lower sensitivities and specificities than molecular assays, but have the advantage of quick turnaround times and ease-of-use.

Concepts: Virus, Chemistry, Symptom, Antiviral drug, Influenza, Assay, Medical sign, Human respiratory syncytial virus


Background Acute myocardial infarction can be triggered by acute respiratory infections. Previous studies have suggested an association between influenza and acute myocardial infarction, but those studies used nonspecific measures of influenza infection or study designs that were susceptible to bias. We evaluated the association between laboratory-confirmed influenza infection and acute myocardial infarction. Methods We used the self-controlled case-series design to evaluate the association between laboratory-confirmed influenza infection and hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction. We used various high-specificity laboratory methods to confirm influenza infection in respiratory specimens, and we ascertained hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction from administrative data. We defined the “risk interval” as the first 7 days after respiratory specimen collection and the “control interval” as 1 year before and 1 year after the risk interval. Results We identified 364 hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction that occurred within 1 year before and 1 year after a positive test result for influenza. Of these, 20 (20.0 admissions per week) occurred during the risk interval and 344 (3.3 admissions per week) occurred during the control interval. The incidence ratio of an admission for acute myocardial infarction during the risk interval as compared with the control interval was 6.05 (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.86 to 9.50). No increased incidence was observed after day 7. Incidence ratios for acute myocardial infarction within 7 days after detection of influenza B, influenza A, respiratory syncytial virus, and other viruses were 10.11 (95% CI, 4.37 to 23.38), 5.17 (95% CI, 3.02 to 8.84), 3.51 (95% CI, 1.11 to 11.12), and 2.77 (95% CI, 1.23 to 6.24), respectively. Conclusions We found a significant association between respiratory infections, especially influenza, and acute myocardial infarction. (Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and others.).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Virus, Influenza, Transmission and infection of H5N1, Troponin, Human respiratory syncytial virus, Orthomyxoviridae


Ginger, Zingiber officinale Roscoe, is a common spice and also a widely used medicinal plant in ancient China. Ginger is an ingredient of Ge-Gen-Tang (Kakkon-to; GGT). GGT has been proved to have antiviral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV). However, it is unknown whether ginger is effective against HRSV.

Concepts: Cell, Organism, Respiratory system, Human respiratory syncytial virus, Ginger, Zingiberaceae, Spice, Zingiber


Human rhinoviruses are the most common respiratory viruses detected in patients after hematopoietic cell transplantation. Although rhinovirus appears to occasionally cause severe lower respiratory tract infection in immunocompromised patients, the clinical significance of rhinovirus detection in the lower respiratory tract remains unknown. We evaluated 697 recipients transplanted between 1993 and 2015 with rhinovirus in respiratory samples. As comparative cohorts, 273 recipients with lower respiratory tract infection caused by respiratory syncytial virus (N=117), parainfluenza virus (N=120), or influenza (N=36) were analyzed. Factors associated with mortality were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard models. Among 569 subjects with rhinovirus upper respiratory tract infection and 128 subjects with rhinovirus lower respiratory tract infection, probabilities of overall mortality at 90 days were 6% and 41%, respectively (p<0.001). The survival rate after lower respiratory tract infection was not affected by the presence of co-pathogens (55% in patients with co-pathogens, 64% in patients without, p=0.34). Low monocyte count (p=0.027), oxygen use (p=0.015), and steroid dose greater than 1 mg/kg/day (p=0.003) before diagnosis were significantly associated with mortality among patients with lower respiratory tract infection in multivariable analysis. Mortality after rhinovirus lower respiratory tract infection was similar to that after lower respiratory tract infection by respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus or influenza in an adjusted model. In summary, transplant recipients with rhinovirus detection in the lower respiratory tract had high mortality rates comparable to viral pneumonia associated with other well-established respiratory viruses. Our data suggest rhinovirus can contribute to severe pulmonary disease in immunocompromised hosts.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Pneumonia, Respiratory system, Upper respiratory tract, Upper respiratory tract infection, Lower respiratory tract, Human respiratory syncytial virus, Common cold


Viral respiratory infections are usually mild and self-limiting; still they exceptionally result in life-threatening infections in previously healthy children. To investigate a potential genetic cause, we recruited 120 previously healthy children requiring support in intensive care because of a severe illness caused by a respiratory virus. Using exome and transcriptome sequencing, we identified and characterized three rare loss-of-function variants in IFIH1, which encodes an RIG-I-like receptor involved in the sensing of viral RNA. Functional testing of the variants IFIH1 alleles demonstrated that the resulting proteins are unable to induce IFN-β, are intrinsically less stable than wild-type IFIH1, and lack ATPase activity. In vitro assays showed that IFIH1 effectively restricts replication of human respiratory syncytial virus and rhinoviruses. We conclude that IFIH1 deficiency causes a primary immunodeficiency manifested in extreme susceptibility to common respiratory RNA viruses.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Gene, Genetics, Causality, Virus, RNA, Human respiratory syncytial virus


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the major infectious agent causing serious respiratory tract inflammation in infants and young children. However, an effective vaccine and anti-viral therapy for RSV infection have not yet been developed. Hop-derived bitter acids have potent pharmacological effects on inflammation. Therefore, we investigated the effects of humulone, which is the main constituent of hop bitter acids, on the replication of RSV and release of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-8 and chemokine RANTES in RSV-infected human nasal epithelial cells (HNECs). We found that humulone prevented the expression of RSV/G-protein, formation of virus filaments and release of IL-8 and RANTES in a dose-dependent manner in RSV-infected HNECs. These findings suggest that humulone has protective effects against the replication of RSV, the virus assembly and the inflammatory responses in HNECs and that it is a useful biological product for the prevention and therapy for RSV infection.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Bacteria, Microbiology, Infection, Endothelium, Chemokine, Human respiratory syncytial virus