You’ve Heard about the Importance of the Microbiome – What about the Virome?

Viruses in the body have a complex interplay

The bacteriome, the landscape of the different bacteria populating the body, has gotten a lot of focus in the media, lately. It is thought that if researchers are able to normalize the bacterial flora in patients, many health disorders could be prevented or treated. There have been recent studies showing that gut bacteria, which are specific to an individual, could hold clues as to why certain medications don’t seem to work for all patients.

Bacteria are in a symbiotic relationship with us. They help us digest food, among other functions. Image Source: Pixabay

A recent analysis published in Current Opinion in Virology suggests that the virome, the various viruses that take up residence inside of us and exist on our skin, might have various complexities, also — from the different viruses that are lurking in a particular human to how they interact in that host to bring about the ultimate outcome, such as in HIV infection.

One day, researchers might develop more and better vaccines for all of the viruses that plagued many of us, starting in our childhood. Viruses in the body can reactivate and cause lifelong health problems. Insects can carry disease across the planet — perhaps the study of the virome will lead to a better stop of this spread and proliferation of common illnesses.

Mosquitos are a source of spread of contagions / Pixabay

B.C. Bonning (2019). The Insect Virome: Opportunities and Challenges, Curr Issues Mol Biol, 34, 1-12, Advance online publication.

Lauren Neergaard (2019, May 29). Tracking microbes people carry may predict future health, AP News, Retrieved from

J. Stern, G. Miller, X. Li and D. Saxena (2019). Virome and bacteriome: two sides of the same coin, Curr Opin Virol, 37, 37-43, Advance online publication.

Michael Zimmermann, Maria Zimmermann-Kogadeeva, Rebekka Wegmann and Andrew L. Goodman (2019). Mapping human microbiome drug metabolism by gut bacteria and their genes, Nature, Manuscript in preparation.

M. Zimmermann, M. Zimmermann-Kogadeeva, R. Wegmann and A.L. Goodman (2019). Separating host and microbiome contributions to drug pharmacokinetics and toxicity, Science, 363, 9931.

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