The interferon (IFN) response is the major early innate immune response against invading viral pathogens and is even capable of mediating sterilizing antiviral immunity without the support of the adaptive immune system. Cumulative evidence suggests that the gut microbiota can modulate IFN responses, indirectly determining virological outcomes. This review outlines our current knowledge of the interactions between the gut microbiota and IFN responses and dissects the different mechanisms by which the gut microbiota may alter IFN expression to diverse viral infections. This knowledge offers a basis for translating experimental evidence from animal studies into the human context and identifies avenues for leveraging the gut microbiota–IFN–virus axis to improve control of viral infections and performance of viral vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-792
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • antiviral immunity
  • bacterial metabolites
  • gut microbiota
  • interferon-α/β
  • interferon-λ
  • viral infection


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