Viral infections in allergy and immunology: How allergic inflammation influences viral infections and illness

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Abstract

Viral respiratory tract infections are associated with asthma inception in early life and asthma exacerbations in older children and adults. Although how viruses influence asthma inception is poorly understood, much research has focused on the host response to respiratory viruses and how viruses can promote; or how the host response is affected by subsequent allergen sensitization and exposure. This review focuses on the innate interferon-mediated host response to respiratory viruses and discusses and summarizes the available evidence that this response is impaired or suboptimal. In addition, the ability of respiratory viruses to act in a synergistic or additive manner with TH2 pathways will be discussed. In this review we argue that these 2 outcomes are likely linked and discuss the available evidence that shows reciprocal negative regulation between innate interferons and TH2 mediators. With the renewed interest in anti-TH2 biologics, we propose a rationale for why they are particularly successful in controlling asthma exacerbations and suggest ways in which future clinical studies could be used to find direct evidence for this hypothesis.

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