Respiratory Viruses and Cystic Fibrosis

Link to article at PubMed

Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2023 Apr;44(2):196-208. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-1758728. Epub 2022 Dec 19.


The threat of respiratory virus infection to human health and well-being has been clearly highlighted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. For people with cystic fibrosis (CF), the clinical significance of viral infections long predated the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. This article reviews the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of respiratory virus infection in the context of CF as well as the current understanding of interactions between viruses and other microorganisms in the CF lung. The incidence of respiratory virus infection in CF varies by age with young children typically experiencing more frequent episodes than adolescents and adults. At all ages, respiratory viruses are very common in CF and are associated with pulmonary exacerbations. Respiratory viruses are identified at up to 69% of exacerbations, while viruses are also frequently detected during clinical stability. The full impact of COVID-19 in CF is yet to be established. Early studies found that rates of COVID-19 were lower in CF cohorts than in the general population. The reasons for this are unclear but may be related to the effects of shielding, infection control practices, maintenance CF therapies, or the inflammatory milieu in the CF lung. Observational studies have consistently identified that prior solid organ transplantation is a key risk factor for poor outcomes from COVID-19 in CF. Several key priorities for future research are highlighted. First, the impact of highly effective CFTR modulator therapy on the epidemiology and pathophysiology of viral infections in CF requires investigation. Second, the impact of respiratory viruses on the development and dynamics of the CF lung microbiota is poorly understood and viral infection may have important interactions with bacteria and fungi in the airway. Finally, bacteriophages represent a key focus of future investigation both for their role in transmission of antimicrobial resistance and as a promising treatment modality for multiresistant pathogens.

PMID:36535663 | DOI:10.1055/s-0042-1758728

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