Viral infections are often studied in model mammalian organisms under specific pathogen-free conditions. However, in nature, coinfections are common, and infection with one organism can alter host susceptibility to infection with another. Helminth parasites share a long coevolutionary history with mammalian hosts and have shaped host physiology, metabolism, immunity, and the composition of the microbiome. Published studies suggest that helminth infection can either be beneficial or detrimental during viral infection. Here, we discuss coinfection studies in mouse models and use them to define key determinants that impact outcomes, including the type of antiviral immunity, the tissue tropism of both the helminth and the virus, and the timing of viral infection in relation to the helminth lifecycle. We also explore the current mechanistic understanding of how helminth-virus coinfection impacts host immunity and viral pathogenesis. While much attention has been placed on the impact of the gut bacterial microbiome on immunity to infection, we suggest that enteric helminths, as a part of the eukaryotic macrobiome, also represent an important modulator of disease pathogenesis and severity following virus infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1961202
JournalGut microbes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Helminth
  • antiviral
  • coinfection
  • immunity
  • intestine
  • tropism
  • type 2 response
  • virus


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