From Stockholm to Malawi: recent developments in studying human polyomaviruses

Mariet C W Feltkamp, Siamaque Kazem, Els van der Meijden, Chris Lauber, Alexander E Gorbalenya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Until a few years ago the polyomavirus family (Polyomaviridae) included a dozen viruses identified in avian and mammalian hosts. Two of these, the JC and BK-polyomaviruses isolated a long time ago, are known to infect humans and cause severe illness in immunocompromised hosts. Since 2007 an unprecedented number of eight novel polyomaviruses were discovered in humans. Among them are the KI- and WU-polyomaviruses identified in respiratory samples, the Merkel cell polyomavirus found in skin carcinomas and the polyomavirus associated with trichodysplasia spinulosa, a skin disease of transplant patients. Another four novel human polyomaviruses were identified, HPyV6, HPyV7, HPyV9 and the Malawi polyomavirus, so far not associated with any disease. In the same period several novel mammalian polyomaviruses were described. This review summarizes the recent developments in studying the novel human polyomaviruses, and touches upon several aspects of polyomavirus virology, pathogenicity, epidemiology and phylogeny.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-96
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of General Virology
Issue numberPt 3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

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