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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Viral respiratory tract infections and asthma in early life: cause and effect?

Authors

  • K. J. Mackenzie,

    1. MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
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  • S. M. Anderton,

    1. MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
    2. Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
    3. Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
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  • J. Schwarze

    Corresponding author
    1. MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
    2. Child Life and Health, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
    • Correspondence: Jürgen Schwarze, MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, The University of Edinburgh, Queen's Medical Research Institute, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, UK. E-mail: Jurgen.Schwarze@ed.ac.uk

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Summary

Interactions between viral respiratory tract infections in infancy and childhood, and asthma development and exacerbation, are complex and intriguing. This review aims to unravel some of these complexities. Does severe respiratory viral infection early in life predispose to later asthma development, or is it indicative of a predisposition to allergic respiratory disease? How could variables such as age and severity of viral infection affect the interaction between respiratory viral infections and asthma? How could respiratory viral infection drive allergic sensitization? Here, we review the evidence surrounding these questions, and discuss current and future research and therapeutic approaches targeting the interplay between viral respiratory tract infection and asthma.

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