Role of Neutralizing Antibodies in Adults With Community-Acquired Pneumonia by Respiratory Syncytial Virus


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Abstract

Background. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been implicated in the etiology of adult community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). We investigated RSV infection in Chilean adults with CAP using direct viral detection, real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (rtRT-PCR), and serology (microneutralization assay).Methods. RSV, other respiratory viruses, and bacteria were studied by conventional and molecular techniques in adults aged ≥18 years presenting with CAP to the healthcare facilities in Santiago, Chile from February 2005 through December 2007.Results. All 356 adults with CAP enrolled had an acute blood sample collected at enrollment, and 184 had a convalescent blood sample. RSV was detected in 48 cases (13.4%). Immunofluorescence assay and viral isolation each detected only 1 infection (0.2%), whereas rtRT-PCR was positive in 32 (8.9%) cases and serology was positive in 20 (10.8%) cases. CAP clinical characteristics were similar in RSV-infected and non-RSV-infected cases. RSV-specific geometric mean serum-neutralizing antibody titer (GMST) was significantly lower at admission in the 48 RSV-infected cases compared with 308 non-RSV-infected adults (GMST in log2: RSV/A 8.1 vs 8.9, and RSV/B 9.3 vs 10.4; P < .02).Conclusions. RSV infection is frequent in Chilean adults with CAP. Microneutralization assay was as sensitive as rtRT-PCR in detecting RSV infection and is a good adjunct assay for diagnostic research. High RSV-specific serum-neutralizing antibody levels were associated with protection against common and severe infection. The development of a vaccine could prevent RSV-related CAP in adults.

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