Acute viral infections often worsen chronic lung diseases
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchial asthma are amongst the most common chronic lung diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COPD is the third leading cause of death worldwide. In Germany, about 6 million people are affected by COPD. The risk of COPD is comparable to that of asthma and diabetes and higher than heart attack. COPD and bronchial asthma are not only associated with a much reduced quality of life, but also represent a major burden on the healthcare and socioeconomic system as a result of chronic treatments, sickness absenteeism, requirement for rehabilitation measures, early retirement and premature death.
Acute respiratory viral infections are amongst major triggers of acute exacerbation of COPD and asthma and contribute significantly to the disease progression. In clinical practice, the possibilities of direct antiviral treatment or vaccination against respiratory viruses are very limited and basically restricted to influenza viruses.