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Whereas most infants infected with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) show no or only mild symptoms, an estimated 3 million children under five are hospitalized annually due to RSV disease. This study aimed to investigate biological mechanisms and associated biomarkers underlying RSV disease heterogeneity in young infants, enabling the potential to objectively categorize RSV-infected infants according to their medical needs. Immunophenotypic and functional profiling demonstrated the emergence of immature and progenitor-like neutrophils, proliferative monocytes (HLA-DRLow , Ki67+), impaired antigen-presenting function, downregulation of T cell response and low abundance of HLA-DRLow B cells in severe RSV disease. HLA-DRLow monocytes were found as a hallmark of RSV-infected infants requiring hospitalization. Complementary transcriptomics identified genes associated with disease severity and pointed to the emergency myelopoiesis response. These results shed new light on mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis and development of severe RSV disease and identified potential new candidate biomarkers for patient stratification.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Transl Med

Publication Date





Infant, Child, Humans, Myelopoiesis, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections, Respiratory Syncytial Viruses, HLA-DR Antigens, Biomarkers