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Do some of viruses may be beneficial?



To give a brief overview regarding potential benefit of human viruses in context of human virome and diseases.

Materials and Methods:

Data were identified by searches of PubMed, and references from relevant articles using the search terms “virome”, “phage therapy”, “live virus vaccines”, “oncolytic viruses”,  “in situ vaccination”, “melanoma treatment with oncolytic viruses”.


The virome has an important impact of the health of humans as the source for traditional viral pathogens. Some benefiting from our viruses are described: viral infections at a young age may help host immune system develop properly, providing protection against later infections and preventing immune overreactions that lead to allergies ( Cadwell 2015), live virus vaccines are used for disease prevention (Minor 2015).

Increasing reports of antimicrobial resistance and limited new antibiotic discoveries and development have fuelled innovation in other research fields and led to a revitalization of bacteriophage studies. Phage therapy mainly utilizes obligatory lytic phages to kill their respective bacterial hosts, while leaving human cells intact and reducing the broader impact on commensal bacteria that often results from antibiotic use. Phage therapy is rapidly evolving and has resulted in cases of life-saving therapeutic use and multiple clinical trials (Furfaro et al.2018, Raghavendra et al. 2018).

Potential benefit of resident viruses is related to their preference for rapidly dividing cells. Oncolytic viruses (OVs) can preferentially infect and kill malignant cancer cells, without imparting similar lytic effects on normal cells. In addition to their direct oncolytic activity, OVs can awaken the otherwise suppressed immune system of cancer-bearing hosts and consequently promote beneficial antitumor immunity (Gujar etal. 2017). OVs potently induce the release of the full range of tumor associated antigens into an inflammatory environment via tumor lysis and contribute to the establishment of tumor-specific T-cell immunity (Achard etal. 2018, Hanakan 2016).


Viruses are being redefined as more than just pathogens. Some viruses are beneficial for humans and can be used for therapeutic purposes.