Respiratory Viral Infections

Respiratory viruses are a major public health burden. As an example, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects all children under the age of two and a large number of these children (~3%) are hospitalized with moderate to severe disease. About half of the hospitalized patients have life threatening conditions and/or develop chronic bronchiolitis, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Interestingly, evidence of a gender specific susceptibility to respiratory viral infections is emerging. Investigators at the cWIDR are studying the viral and host factors that determine the course of infection with respiratory viruses including RSV, influenza and parainfluenza viruses.