Food and Environmental Virology

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 340–349 | Cite as

Year-Long Rhinovirus Infection is Influenced by Atmospheric Conditions, Outdoor Air Virus Presence, and Immune System-Related Genetic Polymorphisms

  • Ana Filipa Rodrigues
  • Ana Mafalda Santos
  • Ana Maria Ferreira
  • Roberta Marino
  • Maria Esmeralda Barreira
  • José Manuel CabedaEmail author
Original Paper


Rhinovirus is a common picornavirus with over 150 serotypes and three species, which is responsible for half of the human common cold cases. In people with chronic respiratory conditions and elders, it may also cause life-threatening diseases. Transmission routes are not definitively established but may involve direct human-to-human and indirect transmission (surfaces and aerosols based). In the present study, year-long presence of virus was tested by qPCR in the nostrils of young healthy volunteers and indoor and outdoor air samples. Results were correlated to atmospheric conditions (meteorological and air quality parameters) and voluntaries immune system-related genetic polymorphisms (TOLLIP rs5743899, IL6 rs1800795, IL1B rs16944, TNFA rs1800629) typed by PCR–RFLP. Nasal samples showed increased frequency and viral titers of Rhinovirus in spring and autumn. No indoor air samples tested positive for Rhinovirus, whereas outdoor air samples tested positive in late autumn. Sun radiation, atmospheric SO2, and benzene levels correlated with nostrils Rhinovirus detection. Both IL6 and TOLLIP polymorphisms but not TNFA or IL1B influenced Rhinovirus detection in the nostrils of voluntaries. Taken together, the results indicate that Rhinovirus circulation is determined by environmental conditions (weather, air-borne virus, and air pollution) and genetically encoded individual variation in immunity.


Rhinovirus Environment Polymorphism Air-borne virus Viral susceptibility 






This work was supported by Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT) Grants UID/Multi/04546/2013, UID/Multi/04546/2016, and UID/Multi/04546/2019. The funding agency took no part in study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, writing of the paper or on the decision to publish it.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization: JMC and MEB; Methodology: JMC, MEB, AFR, AMS, AMF, and RM; Software development, Validation, Formal analysis, Resources, Data curation, Supervision, Project administration, Funding acquisition, and Writing—original draft preparation: JMC; Investigation: JMC, MEB, AFR, AMS, AMF, and RM; Writing—review and editing: JMC, MEB, AFR, AMS, AMF, and RM.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

The work was approved by the University Fernando Pessoa Ethics committee and done in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down by the 14964 Declaration of Helsinki and later amendments. All data acquisitions were done using a Individual ID code known only to the voluntary subject. Database was authorized and registered with the National Individual Data Protection committee and contains no data capable of identifying the subject under study.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study, prior to any sample or data acquisition. Informed consent forms were approved by the University ethics committee. Voluntaries were allowed to drop the study at any time during the observation period.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fernando Pessoa Energy, Environment and Health Research Unit (FP-ENAS)PortoPortugal
  2. 2.Health Sciences FacultyFernando Pessoa UniversityPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Universidade Fernando PessoaPortoPortugal

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