Virus Infections in CF (5/97)

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The role that viral infections plays in the decline of lung function and /or general well being in CF has to date been little studied. This is because virus is not so easy to isolate as bacteria and because there is usually a bacteria component in lung infection in CF and the effects of both bacteria and virus infections occurring together are difficult to separate.

There was a paper out of Liverpool recently that studied 180 children with CF over a period of one year (rather than in the first year of life) and tried to correlate changes in clinical conditions with the isolation of various respiratory viruses. The results are complex but generally did imply that there was a decline in some clinical parameters during the period of infection. What was effected depended on what virus was responsible for the infection (respiratory syncytical virus -RSV- causing the greatest problems)

The reference of the paper is : Smyth AR et al Effects of respiratory virus infections including Rhinovirus on clinical status in cystic fibrosis. Arch Dis Child (1995) 73:117-20

There is a review published about the same time that covers RSV infection in respiratory disease. It mainly concerns Asthmatics but there is also some information about the infection in CF (I have only seen the abstract) Winter JH Current Opinions in Infectious Diseases (1995) 8:89-92

Finally there is a more recent publication concerning a pilot study into the effects of vaccination with a recombinant fusion protein containing an antigen of RSV. Although it did not stop infection in the lower respiratory tract of CF patients, it did seem to cut down on the severity and time of infection.

Again I have only seen the abstract – our library does not take the journal in question Paediatric Infectious Disease Journal (1996) 15:23-31

Ironically if one does a literature search for virus in CF, you will get a lot of references. Almost all concern the use of virus in gene replacement therapy (i.e. virus used for treatment rather than cause of disease).

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