Respiratory virus infections are the most common human infectious disease syndrome. Overwhelming epidemiological, clinical and experimental evidence indicates that respiratory viruses are the major triggers of AEs in patients with chronic airway diseases such as asthma, COPD, CF and interstitial lung disease. Nevertheless, treatments for respiratory viruses (other than influenza virus) have yet to be developed, and therefore the enormous burden of disease associated with respiratory virus infection in these chronic airway diseases remains unaddressed. This failure to develop antiviral therapies needs to be addressed by both the scientific community and the pharmaceutical industry if the morbidity and mortality of virus-induced exacerbations are to be reduced in the future.

Cite as: Ritchie AI, Mallia P, Johnston SL. Viral infection. In: Burgel P-R, Contoli M, López-Campos JL, eds. Acute Exacerbations of Pulmonary Diseases (ERS Monograph). Sheffield, European Respiratory Society, 2017; pp. 76–96 [https://doi.org/10.1183/2312508X.10016116].