Researchers led by Gregory Storch, MD, have developed a diagnostic test to quickly detect enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), a respiratory virus that caused unusually severe illness in children last summer and fall. The outbreak caused infections at an unprecedented rate, with over 1,000 confirmed cases and 14 reported deaths nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Scientists have long suspected that respiratory viruses play a critical role in the development of chronic lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Studying mouse and cell models of this process, researchers now have shown how immune cells dispatched to the lung to destroy a respiratory virus can fail to disperse after their job is done, setting off a chain of inflammatory events that leads to long-term lung problems.
A new study led by Michael J. Holtzman, MD, at the School of Medicine suggests that a fundamental antiviral defense mechanism is intact in asthma. This indicates that another aspect of the immune system must explain the difficulty people with asthma have when they encounter respiratory viruses.