Viruses are the most common cause of acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI). Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) frequently causes viral pneumonia which can become life-threatening if the virus spreads to the lungs. Even though hMPV was only isolated in 2001, this negative-stranded RNA virus has probably been circulating in the human population for many decades. Interestingly, almost all adults have serologic evidence of hMPV infection. A well-established host immune response is evoked when hMPV infection occurs. However, the virus has evolved to circumvent and even exploit the host immune response. Further, infection with hMPV induces a weak memory response, and re-infections during life are common. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the different cell types involved in the immune response in order to better understand the immunopathology induced by hMPV. Such knowledge may contribute to the development of vaccines and therapeutics directed against hMPV.
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