Human anelloviruses: diverse, omnipresent and commensal members of the virome

FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2020 May 1;44(3):305-313. doi: 10.1093/femsre/fuaa007.


Anelloviruses are small, single stranded circular DNA viruses. They are extremely diverse and have not been associated with any disease so far. Strikingly, these small entities infect most probably the complete human population, and there are no convincing examples demonstrating viral clearance from infected individuals. The main transmission could be via fecal-oral or airway route, as infections occur at an early age. However, due to the lack of an appropriate culture system, the virus-host interactions remain enigmatic. Anelloviruses are obviously mysterious viruses, and their impact on human life is not yet known, but, with no evidence of a disease association, a potential beneficial effect on human health should also be investigated.

Keywords: Anelloviridae; Anellome; anellovirus; commensal virus; orphan virus; torque teno virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anelloviridae / classification*
  • Anelloviridae / physiology*
  • Host Microbial Interactions*
  • Humans