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Rhinovirus representation

Rhinovirus species-specific antibodies in health and asthma

Rhinovirus antibodies and their ineffectiveness as an immune weapon in Asthmatic children.

Rhinovirus species-specific antibodies in health and asthma

Full title

Rhinovirus species-specific antibodies differentially reflect clinical outcomes in health and asthma.



American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 



Spyridon Megremis, Katarzyna Niespodziana, Clarissa Cabauatan, Paraskevi Xepapadaki, Marek L Kowalski, Tuomas Jartti, Claus Bachert, Susetta Finotto, Peter West, Sofia Stamataki, Anna Lewandowska-Polak, Heikki Lukkarinen, Nan Zhang, Theodor Zimmermann, Frank Stolz, Angela Neubauer, Mübeccel Akdis, Evangelos Andreakos, Rudolf Valenta, Nikolaos G. Papadopoulos.


Rhinovirus antibodies and their ineffectiveness as an immune weapon in asthmatic children.

Rhinoviruses are major triggers of common cold and acute asthma exacerbations. However, little is known regarding RV species-specific antibody responses in health and asthma.

To describe and compare total and rhinovirus species-specific antibody levels in healthy and asthmatic children, we analysed serum samples from preschool children with mild to moderate asthma and healthy controls from the multinational Predicta cohort using a recently developed rhinovirus antibody chip providing the highest resolution up to now.


Rhinovirus species-specific antibody levels varied suggesting different exposure patterns, with rhinovirus C and rhinovirus A being higher than rhinovirus B in both groups. Asthma was characterised by significantly higher levels of antibodies to rhinovirus A and rhinovirus C, but not rhinovirus B.

Rhinovirus antibody levels positively correlated with the number of common colds over the previous year in healthy children, and wheeze episodes in asthmatics. Antibody levels also positively correlated with asthma severity but not with current asthma control.

In healthy pre-schoolers, rhinovirus antibodies accumulate with colds. In asthma, rhinovirus A and rhinovirus C antibodies are much higher and further increase with disease severity and wheeze episodes. Importantly, there is no apparent protection with increasing levels of antibodies.

Key facts

  • Rhinoviruses are major triggers of common colds, asthma exacerbations and asthma development.
  • Antibodies against rhinoviruses are misguided towards a non-accessible protein structure.
  • Asthma patients even though accumulate higher number of rhinovirus antibodies are not protected by re-infection.
  • No vaccine or antiviral agents are available to fight rhinoviruses.

Contributing authors







This work was supported by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework programme under grant agreement No. 260895 (PREDICTA), by the project P29398-B30 of the Austrian Science Fund, and by research grants from Biomay AG and Viravaxx AG, Vienna, Austria.

Rudolf Valenta is a recipient of a Megagrant of the Government of the Russian Federation, grant number 14.W03.31.0024.

E. Andreakos is a member of the scientific advisory board of Vorso Corp, has received grants from Novosom AG and Janssen, and has received travel support from Chiesi.