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J Virol. 2010 Aug;84(15):7418-26. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02290-09. Epub 2010 Apr 7.

The ABCs of rhinoviruses, wheezing, and asthma.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics and Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


Human rhinoviruses (HRVs) were discovered as common cold pathogens over 50 years ago. Recent advances in molecular viral diagnostics have led to an appreciation of their role in more-significant respiratory illnesses, including bronchiolitis in infancy, childhood pneumonia, and acute exacerbations of chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, and cystic fibrosis. Until a few years ago, only two groups of HRVs (A and B) had been recognized. However, full and partial sequencing of HRVs led to the discovery of a third species of HRV (HRV-C) that has distinct structural and biologic features. Risk factors and pathogenic mechanisms for more-severe HRV infections are being defined, and yet fundamental questions persist about mechanisms relating this common pathogen to allergic diseases and asthma. The close relationship between HRV infections and asthma suggests that antiviral treatments could have a major impact on the morbidity associated with this chronic respiratory disease.

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