Coinfection by influenza A virus and respiratory syncytial virus produces hybrid virus particles

Nat Microbiol. 2022 Nov;7(11):1879-1890. doi: 10.1038/s41564-022-01242-5. Epub 2022 Oct 24.


Interactions between respiratory viruses during infection affect transmission dynamics and clinical outcomes. To identify and characterize virus-virus interactions at the cellular level, we coinfected human lung cells with influenza A virus (IAV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Super-resolution microscopy, live-cell imaging, scanning electron microscopy and cryo-electron tomography revealed extracellular and membrane-associated filamentous structures consistent with hybrid viral particles (HVPs). We found that HVPs harbour surface glycoproteins and ribonucleoproteins of IAV and RSV. HVPs use the RSV fusion glycoprotein to evade anti-IAV neutralizing antibodies and infect and spread among cells lacking IAV receptors. Finally, we show that IAV and RSV coinfection in primary cells of the bronchial epithelium results in viral proteins from both viruses co-localizing at the apical cell surface. Our observations define a previously unknown interaction between respiratory viruses that might affect virus pathogenesis by expanding virus tropism and enabling immune evasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / metabolism
  • Coinfection*
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections* / metabolism
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human*
  • Virion / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Viral