Human adenoviruses (HAdV) are widespread pathogens of the respiratory tract, digestive tract and urinary tract that cause highly infectious follicular epidemic keratoconjunctivitis, i.e. simultaneous inflammation of the conjunctiva and cornea of the eye, and fatal diseases in immunocompromised individuals. Alarmingly, new types have recently been reported that predominantly affect the lungs and can kill healthy people. In the absence of HAdV-specific chemotherapy, a future challenge for basic research will be to provide the background for innovative future antiviral intervention strategies.
HAdV are also commonly used as viral vectors in vaccination strategies (SARS-CoV), gene therapy and tumour therapy because of their high gene delivery efficacy and ease of manipulation. Nevertheless, there are still many gaps in basic knowledge that need to be filled by future discoveries with immediate translation into clinical applications.