John Libbey Eurotext

Virologie

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Le métapneumovirus humain, le point dix années après sa découverte. Caractéristiques génomiques, virologiques et avancées thérapeutiques Volume 15, issue 4, Juillet-Août 2011

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Authors
CHU de Québec, CHUQ-CHUL, centre de recherche en infectiologie, 2705, boulevard Laurier, Sainte-Foy, Quebec G1V4G2, Canada, Université de Lyon, université Claude-Bernard-Lyon-I, hospices civils de Lyon, faculté de médecine RTH Laennec, laboratoire de virologie et pathologie humaine (VirPath), 7, rue Guillaume-Paradin, 69372 Lyon, France

Human metapneumovirus (hMPV), described for the first time in 2001 by the team of Pr Albert Osterhaus [1], is one of the main viral pathogens responsible for human respiratory tract infections. It may cause death in elderly and immunocompromised patients. The agent most closely related to hMPV is the human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV), the main virus involved in bronchiolitis and pneumonia in young children and in respiratory tract infections in the elderly. hMPV is defined by two main viral groups, A and B, and has generally a winter annual distribution in temperate countries. Because of the difficulty to culture hMPV in vitro, its diagnosis is generally achieved using RT-PCR. Like other Paramyxoviridae, hMPV has a negative stranded RNA genome that includes eight genes coding for nine different proteins. Its genomic organization and the functions of its surface attachment and fusion glycoproteins are relatively similar to those of hRSV. Although many studies have tried to explain the viral cycle of hMPV, there are still many unanswered questions on the exact roles of the viral proteins in the attachment, fusion and replication of hMPV. There is no approved modality to combat hMPV infections for the moment. The majority of the treatments currently tested on hMPV have already demonstrated an activity against hRSV infections. Some innovative approaches based on RNA interference and on fusion inhibitors could be effective in hMPV disease. One of the biggest problems to develop an effective hMPV vaccine is the difficulty of inducing a durable immune response. Several strategies such as live attenuated viruses generated by reverse genetics or recombinant proteins have been tested in animals with encouraging results.