Research suggests transmission of respiratory viruses in utero

April 18, 2013, Cleveland Clinic

The most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), can be transferred during pregnancy to an unborn baby, according to Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital research published online this week in the journal PLOS ONE.

In animal models, the study shows that RSV is able to spread across the placenta from the respiratory tract of the mother to the fetus, and is present in the lungs after birth, throughout development and into adulthood. RSV is considered the primary cause of infant pneumonia and has been implicated in the development of asthma.

"Epidemiologic evidence suggests that early-life RSV infection predisposes children to recurrent wheezing and asthma," said Giovanni Piedimonte, M.D., the study's lead author and Chairman of Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital and the Pediatric Institute. "This study challenges the current paradigm that RSV infection is acquired only after birth and shifts attention to prenatal effects of the virus, which may result in more severe and lasting consequences by interfering with an unborn baby's critical developmental processes."

Research was completed in an animal model, in which rats were inoculated with RSV during midterm pregnancy. Of those infected, RSV was found in 30 percent of fetuses, as well as in the lungs of 40 percent of newborns and 25 percent of those that reached adulthood.

Dr. Piedimonte has been the principal investigator or co-investigator of more than 30 research projects, and has authored and co-authored more than 250 journal articles, book chapters, monographs, editorials and abstracts. He holds 17 and is frequently invited to speak nationally and internationally.

Explore further: New study finds maternal diet important predictor of severity for infant RSV

Related Stories

New study finds maternal diet important predictor of severity for infant RSV

March 4, 2013
An important predictor of the severity of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants may be what their mothers ate during pregnancy, according to a Vanderbilt study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical ...

RSV study shows potential for vaccine strategies to protect babies

November 15, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Research by the University of Warwick indicates that vaccinating families could protect young babies against a common winter virus which can be fatal for infants under six months.

Dog-associated house dust protects against respiratory infection linked to asthma

June 19, 2012
House dust from homes with dogs appears to protect against infection with a common respiratory virus that is associated with the development of asthma in children. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, ...

Recommended for you

Drug targets for Ebola, Dengue, and Zika viruses found in lab study

December 13, 2018
No drugs are currently available to treat Ebola, Dengue, or Zika viruses, which infect millions of people every year and result in severe illness, birth defects, and even death. New research from the Gladstone Institutes ...

Faster test for Ebola shows promising results in field trials

December 13, 2018
A team of researchers with members from the U.S., Senegal and Guinea, in cooperation with Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), has developed a faster test for the Ebola virus than those currently in use. In their paper published ...

Urbanisation and air travel leading to growing risk of pandemic

December 13, 2018
Increased arrivals by air and urbanisation are the two main factors leading to a growing vulnerability to pandemics in our cities, a University of Sydney research team has found.

Researchers discover new interactions between Ebola virus and human proteins

December 13, 2018
Several new connections have been discovered between the proteins of the Ebola virus and human host cells, a finding that provides insight on ways to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from reproducing and could lead to novel ...

Faecal transplants, 'robotic guts' and the fight against deadly gut bugs

December 13, 2018
A simple compound found in our gut could help to stop dangerous bacteria behind severe, and sometimes fatal, hospital infections.

Taking the virus out of a mosquito's bite

December 12, 2018
They approach with the telltale sign—a high-pitched whine. It's a warning that you are a mosquito's next meal. But that mosquito might carry a virus, and now the virus is in you. Now, with the help of state-of-the-art technology, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.