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Clin Mol Allergy. 2009 Jan 20;7:2. doi: 10.1186/1476-7961-7-2.

Novel concepts in virally induced asthma.

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  • 1Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-2650, USA.


Viruses are the predominant infectious cause of asthma exacerbations in the developed world. In addition, recent evidence strongly suggests that viral infections may also have a causal role in the development of childhood asthma. In this article, we will briefly describe the general perception of how the link between infections and asthma has changed over the last century, and then focus on very recent developments that have provided new insights into the contribution of viruses to asthma pathogenesis. Highlighted areas include the contribution of severe early life viral infections to asthma inception, genetic determinants of severe viral infections in infancy, the differences in innate and adaptive immune system cytokine responses to viral infection between asthmatic and nonasthmatic subjects, and a potential vaccine strategy to prevent severe early life virally-induced illness.

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