HSV Research Receives Funding Boost
- Published: Thursday, 14 November 2019 09:59 Follow @Herstat
A potential landmark moment in cold sore treatment research has arrived with news that the Medical Research Council has awarded scientists at the University of Surrey £500,000 to begin a new study into the herpes simplex virus.
The research team proposes to explore the role of the VHS protein in order to try and understand the role it plays in manipulating the body’s cellular environment in order to create conditions favourable for the survival of the cold sore virus. Early reports from the team, which is being led by Professor Gill Elliott, suggest that the protein has evolved to identify and eliminate particular parts of the cell that might otherwise impede the growth and spread of the cold sore virus.
The Surrey University team will use the £500,000 award to further investigate the impact of the proteins and will use a considerable amount of the funding to utilise the latest technologies, including microscopy, to examine the operation of the cold sore virus at a cellular level, with particular focus on VHS targets. They will also seek to test the hypothesis that VHS causes herpes-infected cells to generate the structural environment necessary to facilitate further growth.
Although the cold sore virus currently affects around 4 billion people in the world, it is usually not dangerous. Only the very young and immune-compromised – for example, individuals undergoing chemotherapy or who have HIV – are likely to be at risk from complications such as infectious blindness or viral encephalitis.
Gill Elliott, Professor of Virology at the University of Surrey, commented: “To understand how to treat viruses like herpes simplex, it is important to discover how they subvert the normal activities of our cells."
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