During the past decades studies on patients with severe viral infections have revealed rare inborn errors of immunity (IEI) underlying these diseases. This has led to important new insights into the molecular genetics and immunological mechanisms underlying susceptibility to viral infection in humans.
Here the current knowledge on major IEI predisposing to severe or chronic viral infection are described and discussed, and the clinical implications of these findings for individualized prophylaxis and treatment are outlined.
The review is based on a broad literature search including relevant studies primarily based studies in patients, supported by experimental molecular models in vitro or in mice to characterize pathophysiological mechanism governing these disease conditions.
Current concepts and principles of genetic predisposition to viral infections in humans are described with a major focus on defects related to innate immune responses and new concepts of constitutive immune mechanisms. The topic therefore spans from seminal studies on the human genetics of herpesvirus infections in the central nervous system, severe influenza, and disease following vaccination with live attenuated viral vaccines, and finally mentioning genetic resistance to viral infection.
Past and present studies in patients with IEI conferring vulnerability to viral infections have taught us important lessons on protective innate and adaptive antiviral immunity in humans. Such knowledge also has important clinical implications allowing development of prophylactic and therapeutic solutions to prevent or dampen the clinical consequences of insufficient or dysregulated antiviral immunity in patients. Collectively, such measures are likely to improve patient management at an individualized level and also help societies reduce disease burden from viral infections.

Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier Ltd.