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. However, a variety of societal factors, including beliefs, traditions, and stigma, can be a major obstacle to all of these interventions. 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.
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.
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.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects 290 million people worldwide. Oxford Nanopore Technology sequencing platforms provide potential for sequencing the whole HBV genome in a single read, facilitating improved insights into virus epidemiology, diversity, and pathogenesis. Dr Anna McNaughton and fellow researchers from the Translational Gastroenterology Unit have developed laboratory and bioinformatic methods enabling accurate HBV sequencing using the Nanopore platform
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has caused explosive outbreaks in more than 60 countries. Infection can cause a long-term, debilitating disease characterised by joint inflammation and chronic arthritis lasting several years. No licensed vaccine is yet available, but the team lead by Prof Reyes-Sandoval has developed a Chikungunya vaccine using the adenovirus ChAdOx1 expressing Virus-Like Particles that elicit immune responses able to produce high antibody titres able to neutralise the virus.
Nearly 3 million people are co-infected with hepatitis C and HIV. Effective preventive strategies targeting both viruses are needed. Jenner Investigators, including Professor Lucy Dorrell have published a study in Frontiers in Immunology showing that a two-in-one vaccine regimen employing serologically distinct adenovirus vectors elicited strong immune responses to both pathogens without adverse effects
A research team led by Prof Alison Simmons at MRC HIU and Professor of Gastroenterology used single-cell technology to identify new players in the gut epithelial barrier. “By identifying new colonic epithelial cell types and uncovering fundamental determinants of barrier breakdown in IBD we open up avenues to restore the protective mucus layer pharmaceutically” said Prof Alison Simmons
A new study by the Cornall group provides new insights into the importance of zinc in human health. Led by Consuelo Anzilotti, a clinical immunologist in Richard Cornall’s group in the Nuffield Department of Medicine and MRC Human Immunology Unit, the project published today in Nature Immunology brought together scientists and clinicians from Oxford, the University of Newcastle, Durham, Imperial College, the Netherlands and the USA.
Ludwig Institute's study of venous development by Professor Sarah De Val, identifying a new potential target for anti-angiogenic cancer therapy is now published in Nature Communications. Venous endothelial cells are molecularly and functionally distinct from their arterial counterparts. Although veins are often considered the default endothelial state, genetic manipulations can modulate both acquisition and loss of venous fate, suggesting that venous identity is the result of active transcriptional regulation.