Viral infection of the respiratory tract is linked to acute attacks of
respiratory diseases like asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis.
Viruses are found everywhere and are responsible for
some of the worst and incurable infections.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is
known to be the fourth leading cause of global mortality. Recent researches
have revealed that by the year 2020, it will become the third leading cause.
Rhinoviruses not only cause common cold but are also
responsible for COPD exacerbations.
Other organisms responsible for COPD exacerbations
are adenovirus, influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza
virus and metapneumovirus.
COPD symptoms may vary from mild to severe depending
upon the intensity of the airway disease.
Some of the common symptoms of COPD are dypnea,
chronic cough, excessive sputum production, fatigue, wheezing or whistling
sound during breathing, clubbing of fingers, etc.
COPD is an irreversible lung disease. The treatment
involves antimicrobial drugs, bronchodilators, corticosteroids, aerosol agents,
Besides COPD, other lung conditions like asthma and
cystic fibrosis also show exacerbations in the presence of viral infection.
Aran Singanayagam and colleagues have published an article in BMC Medicine 2012 on "Viruses exacerbating chronic pulmonary disease: the role of immune modulation."
The article mainly reviewed the existing knowledge
about the role of viruses and immune modulation in COPD, asthma and cystic
fibrosis. The authors concluded that the immune response to viruses is reduced
in these chronic lung conditions, either through a similar or different
mechanism. Understanding the mechanisms responsible for the decreased immunity
can help to reduce the impact of acute exacerbations of these lung diseases
following viral infection. Reference:
chronic pulmonary disease: the role of immune modulation; Aran Singanayagam et
al; BMC Medicine 2012