The idea that there is a four-factor interaction when it comes to the entry of viruses into organisms now seems consolidated: the host surface, its microbiome, the immune system and the virus. Microbiota can either promote or inhibit viral replication and pathogenesis. Examples are data from studies on influenza viruses, HIV-1, Dengue viruses and more.

A fundamental question is: what animal models can be used for research in this area?

Mice treated with antibiotics, germ-free mice and flora associated are among the most interesting animal models used to understand how the microbiome plays an important role in terms of virus diffusion in the organism and pathogenicity. The growing use in research of gnotobiotic mice, made more flexible today by advanced housing technologies, continues to offer new horizons and knowledge to research.

In this sense, to go more deeply into the topic we suggest the reading of a review published in 2013 that describes the studies on the microbiota virus interaction conducted often in gnotobiotic mice*.

Jessica Wilks, Helen Beilinson, and Tatyana V. Golovkina. Dual role of commensal bacteria in viral infections. Immunol Rev. 2013 September ; 255(1): . doi:10.1111/imr.12097.