About this Research Topic
Clinical manifestations of infections of the upper respiratory tract such as cough, sneezing and congestion are very common and are usually benign. These infections, which are mainly caused by viruses, are usually transitory and can be treated symptomatically. However, complications can result in super-infection / secondary infection and in serious disease, notably in children. Furthermore, lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia can be severe or fatal and represent a major concern for public health. In all cases, vaccination is recommended when available. In developed countries, vaccines preventing pneumococcus and haemophilus influenzae type B infections and respiratory diseases, e.g. whooping cough, are now basic components of the childhood immunization program. However, no efficient vaccine against RSV infection currently exists. The influenza vaccine is provided annually to groups at risk in order to overcome the mutational drift of circulating seasonal viruses. Therefore, the development of universal vaccine strategies is essential in order to anticipate the constant risk of emergence of a viral strain with pandemic potential. Furthermore, emerging or re-emerging respiratory viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome virus (SARS), middle-east respiratory syndrome virus (MERS-Cov) or avian influenza viruses constitute a constant challenge and underline the necessity for the development of vaccines, therapeutics and preventive strategies to reduce the morbidity and the mortality associated with these infections.
Despite the significant success of traditional live-attenuated and inactivated vaccines against respiratory pathogens, vaccines that are safer and provide broader protection are needed. Vaccines based on more defined and conserved antigenic molecules/nucleic sequences of these microbes can be less reactogenic and provide a wider coverage, but they are often less immunogenic than whole-cell vaccines. Innovative vaccine strategies based on a thorough knowledge of the (immuno)-pathogenesis of respiratory pathogens, including the cellular and molecular mechanisms of interactions between these infectious agents and the host immune system are needed. Recent technological advances in B-cell immunology and in structural biology have enabled the computational design of novel, well-defined and conformationally stable epitopes with protective (neutralizing) potential. Suitable adjuvants or delivery systems aimed at: (i) overcoming physiological host mucosal barriers; (ii) specifically targeting actors of the host immune response and (iii) controlling the kinetics of vaccine antigen presentation are also essential for ensuring robust and long-lasting humoral and/or cellular immune responses to respiratory infections. Finally, alternative and innovative prophylactic and therapeutic strategies to vaccination, including the use of broad-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, gene silencing (siRNA), phage therapy or probiotics are of great interest in the control of respiratory infections.
In this Research Topic, we aim to gather a collection of Original Research, Method, Review and Mini-Review articles that aim to identify and discuss new molecular and cellular therapeutic targets important for respiratory infections. In particular, we welcome the submission of articles that address the following topics:
1. New immunotherapeutic strategies for treating respiratory infections.
2. Innovative vaccine strategies for respiratory infections such as virus-like particles, nanoparticles and virosomes.
3. Methods aimed to optimize current treatments and vaccines which involve adjuvants, administration of DNA vaccines and universal antibodies.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.