Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the major cause of lower respiratory tract disease in infants. It is unusual in that it causes repeated infections throughout life. Despite considerable efforts there is as yet no satisfactory vaccine available. This paper reviews the molecular epidemiology of the RSV and describes the complex genotypic structure of RSV epidemics. The evolution of the virus is discussed, with particular reference to the antigenic and genetic variability of the attachment glycoprotein.
Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.