Background. A recent study reported that gene expression profiles from peripheral blood samples of healthy subjects prior to viral inoculation were indistinguishable from profiles of subjects who received viral challenge but remained asymptomatic and uninfected. If true, this implies that the host immune response does not have a molecular signature. Given the high sensitivity of microarray technology, we were intrigued by this result and hypothesize that it was an artifact of data analysis. Findings. Using acute respiratory viral challenge microarray data, we developed a molecular signature that for the first time allowed for an accurate differentiation between uninfected subjects prior to viral inoculation and subjects who remained asymptomatic after the viral challenge. Conclusions. Our findings suggest that molecular signatures can be used to characterize immune responses to viruses and may improve our understanding of susceptibility to viral infection with possible implications for vaccine development.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the authors of  for promptly and generously sharing with us their data, software, and details about their analyses. Alexander Statnikov and Constantin F. Aliferis are acknowledging support from grants R56 LM007948-04A1 from the National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health and 1UL1RR029893 from the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health. Jörn-Hendrik Weitkamp was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grant K08HD061607. Lauren McVoy was supported by a fellowship from the Physician Scientist Training Program at New York University School of Medicine.