Great progress has been made in understanding immunity to viral infection. However, infection can occur in the context of co-infection by unrelated pathogens that modulate immune responses and/or disease. We have studied immunity and disease during co-infection with two unrelated viruses: Ectromelia virus (ECTV) and Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). ECTV infection can be a lethal in mice due in part to the blockade of Type I Interferons (IFN-I). We show that ECTV/LCMV co-infection results in decreased ECTV viral load and amelioration of ECTV-induced disease, likely due to IFN-I induction by LCMV, as rescue is not observed in IFN-I receptor deficient mice. However, immune responses to LCMV in ECTV co-infected mice were also lower compared to mice infected with LCMV alone and potentially biased toward effector-memory cell generation. Thus, we provide evidence for bi-directional effects of viral co-infection that modulate disease and immunity.
- Immune response
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