Protecting infants from viral infections may prevent the development of asthma late in childhood, according to new research in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI).
The study, “Early-life respiratory viral infections, atopic sensitization, and risk of subsequent development of persistent asthma,” conducted by Merci M.H. Kusel, MBBS, PhD, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia and colleagues.Researchers studied 198 children at high risk of atopy, from birth to five years. All episodes of acute respiratory illness in the first year were recorded, and nasal aspirates were collected for viral identification. History of wheeze and asthma was collected annually, and atopy was assessed at six months, two years and five years.This research suggests that viral respiratory infections (most commonly rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus) interact with atopy in infancy to promote the later development of asthma. The occurrence of a lower respiratory tract infection in an atopic child during early infancy is associated with maximal risk for subsequent asthma.(Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology : University of Western Australia : April 2007.)