Research Highlights

The natural history and transmission potential of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection

The natural history and transmission potential of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection

Posted 09/06/2020

Dr Le Van Tan and colleagues from OUCRU, Vietnam, demonstrate that 43% of quarantined people who were RT-PCR positive for SARS-CoV-2 were asymptomatic, but potentially contagious. The results emphasize the importance of contact tracing, airport quarantine and RT-PCR screening for SARS-CoV-2 among isolated people in controlling the ongoing pandemic.

Ethics of instantaneous contact tracing using mobile phone apps in the control of the COVID-19 pandemic

Ethics of instantaneous contact tracing using mobile phone apps in the control of the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted 28/05/2020

The team's latest paper published in The Journal of Medical Ethics, summarises how the successful and appropriate use of the app as an intervention relies on the ability to command well-founded public trust and confidence. This applies to the use of the app itself and of the data.  "There are well-founded public concerns on the implications of digital tracing and these have been included in our consideration and conceptualisation of the app's configuration since inception," explains Professor Christophe Fraser, co-lead on the mobile contact tracing app team.

COVID-19 vaccines: breaking record times to first-in-human trials

COVID-19 vaccines: breaking record times to first-in-human trials

Posted 21/05/2020

A recent publication in Nature from Professor Arturo Reyes Sandoval discusses how vaccines have played a major role in the control of disease outbreaks, with developments based on classic pathogen inactivation or attenuation. The twenty-first century has come with a new era in vaccinology where recombinant protein, DNA and RNA technologies are contributing to setting the fastest records for vaccine design, production and clinical assessment.  

Expanding the immune system's arsenal to fend off viruses and cancer cells

Expanding the immune system's arsenal to fend off viruses and cancer cells

Posted 13/05/2020

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) kill infected and cancerous cells. Mike Dustin's team at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, together with Roman Fischer and Benedikt Kessler from the Target Discovery Institute, NDM, detected transfer of cytotoxic multiprotein complexes from CTLs to target cells, termed supramolecular attack particles (SMAPs). SMAPs were rapidly released from CTLs and were autonomously cytotoxic

A Trial of Lopinavir–Ritonavir in Adults Hospitalized with Severe Covid-19

A Trial of Lopinavir–Ritonavir in Adults Hospitalized with Severe Covid-19

Posted 23/03/2020

199 patients received standard care, of which 99 received lopinavir-ritonavir for 14 days. Lopinavir-ritonavir didn’t induce significant clinical improvement, and mortality was similar in both groups. However, patients treated with lopinavir-ritonavir spent less time in hospital and in intensive care. The trial enrolled severely ill patients and was not big enough to detect modest benefits. Much larger studies are warranted to confirm or exclude if lopinavir-ritonavir treatment can help.

Stepping up to the challenge: studying drug dosage during an Ebola outbreak

Stepping up to the challenge: studying drug dosage during an Ebola outbreak

Posted 17/01/2020

A specialist technique used to study drugs has been completed for the first time during an outbreak of Ebola virus disease. This study used pharmacokinetics – the measurement of the change in drug concentration in a person over time – to study an experimental drug for the treatment of Ebola virus disease during the 2015 outbreak in Sierra Leone.

A Study of Knowledge, Experience, and Beliefs About Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection in South Western Uganda

A Study of Knowledge, Experience, and Beliefs About Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection in South Western Uganda

Posted 01/11/2019

United Nations sustainable development goals aim for the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030, leading to efforts to upscale the availability and accessibility of hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination, diagnosis, and treatment globally.  Philippa Matthews and co-researchers  set out to investigate how HBV is understood and described in communities in Uganda, and whether there is evidence of potential stigma.

Activation and In Vivo Evolution of the MAIT Cell Transcriptome in Mice and Humans Reveals Tissue Repair Functionality

Activation and In Vivo Evolution of the MAIT Cell Transcriptome in Mice and Humans Reveals Tissue Repair Functionality

Posted 20/09/2019

Dr Timothy Hinks, from NDM'S Experimental Medicine Division led one of two research groups studying these cells. The research was also supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.  These cells could be harnessed to help heal tissues and treat diseases such as infections of the lung, the bowel or the skin.  Dr Hinks said: MAIT cells are remarkable in several ways. They are very numerous throughout the different tissues of our bodies. They are also ancient in evolutionary terms, being found in animals as distantly related as humans, mice and even opossums and Tasmanian devils. 

Leveraging genetics to help inform drug target discovery

Leveraging genetics to help inform drug target discovery

Posted 28/06/2019

A new study led by Professor Julian Knight at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics and colleagues from the ULTRA-DD Consortium shows how genetics and knowledge of networks can prioritise drug targets for immune-mediated diseases. The Priority Index pipeline developed by first-author Dr Hai Fang is published in Nature Genetics.

 

 

Human Antibodies that Slow Erythrocyte Invasion Potentiate Malaria-Neutralizing Antibodies

Human Antibodies that Slow Erythrocyte Invasion Potentiate Malaria-Neutralizing Antibodies

Posted 14/06/2019
Researchers from the University of Oxford, including NDM's Professor Simon Draper, along with partners from five institutions around the world, have identified the human antibodies that prevent the malaria parasite from entering blood cells, which may be key to creating a highly effective malaria vaccination. The results of the study were published yesterday in the journal Cell.