Exacerbation of influenza a virus disease severity by respiratory syncytial virus co-infection in a mouse model

Junu A. George, Shaikha H. Alshamsi, Maryam H. Alhammadi, Ahmed R. Alsuwaidi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Influenza A virus (IAV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are leading causes of childhood infections. RSV and influenza are competitive in vitro. In this study, the in vivo effects of RSV and IAV co-infection were investigated. Mice were intranasally inoculated with RSV, with IAV, or with both viruses (RSV+IAV and IAV+RSV) administered sequentially, 24 h apart. On days 3 and 7 post-infection, lung tissues were processed for viral loads and immune cell populations. Lung functions were also evaluated. Mortality was observed only in the IAV+RSV group (50% of mice did not survive beyond 7 days). On day 3, the viral loads in single-infected and co-infected mice were not significantly different. However, on day 7, the IAV titer was much higher in the IAV+RSV group, and the RSV viral load was reduced. CD4 T cells were reduced in all groups on day 7 except in single-infected mice. CD8 T cells were higher in all experimental groups except the RSV-alone group. Increased airway resistance and reduced thoracic compliance were demonstrated in both co-infected groups. This model indicates that, among all the infection types we studied, infection with IAV followed by RSV is associated with the highest IAV viral loads and the most morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1630
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Co-infection
  • IAV
  • Mortality
  • RSV
  • Viral titer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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