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Pathogenesis of Respiratory Viral and Fungal Coinfections

Individuals suffering from severe viral respiratory tract infections have recently emerged as "at risk" groups for developing invasive fungal infections. Influenza virus is one of the most common causes of acute lower respiratory tract infections worldwide. Fungal infections complicating influenza pneumonia are associated with increased disease severity and mortality, with invasive pulmonary aspergillosis being the most common manifestation. Strikingly, similar observations have been made during the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The copathogenesis of respiratory viral and fungal coinfections is complex and involves a dynamic interplay between the host immune defenses and the virulence of the microbes involved that often results in failure to return to homeostasis. In this review, we discuss the main mechanisms underlying susceptibility to invasive fungal disease following respiratory viral infections. A comprehensive understanding of these interactions will aid the development of therapeutic modalities against newly identified targets to prevent and treat these emerging coinfections.

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