European Respiratory Review 2022; 31(166)

Respiratory viruses: their importance and lessons learned from COVID-19.

Cilloniz C, Luna CM, Hurtado JC, Marcos MÁ, Torres A
Respiratory virus infection can cause severe illnesses capable of inducing acute respiratory failure that can progress rapidly to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is related to poor outcomes, especially in individuals with a higher risk of infection, such as the elderly and those with comorbidities, i.e. obesity, asthma, diabetes mellitus and chronic respiratory or cardiovascular disease. Despite this, effective antiviral treatments available for severe viral lung infections are scarce. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic demonstrated that there is also a need to understand the role of airborne transmission of respiratory viruses. Robust evidence supporting this exists, but better comprehension could help implement adequate measures to mitigate respiratory viral infections. In severe viral lung infections, early diagnosis, risk stratification and prognosis are essential in managing patients. Biomarkers can provide reliable, timely and accessible information possibly helpful for clinicians in managing severe lung viral infections. Although respiratory viruses highly impact global health, more research is needed to improve care and prognosis of severe lung viral infections. In this review, we discuss the epidemiology, diagnosis, clinical characteristics, management and prognosis of patients with severe infections due to respiratory viruses.Copyright ©The authors 2022.