Hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects approximately 200 million people worldwide. It has emerged over the last 15 years as the major cause of liver failure and liver cancer in many countries, and is expected to outstrip HIV as a cause of death in the USA within a few years. The virus has adapted well to humans and sets up lifelong infection in the majority of those who encounter it. What role does mutation to evade host immune responses play in adaptation to individual hosts? How will such mutations impact upon the emerging HCV epidemic? In this research theme we use experimental and modelling work to explore these questions. Paul Klenerman supervises the experimental work and Angela McLean supervises the theoretical work.
HIV is one of the most variable infectious agents ever studied. New variants of the virus are generated at every round of replication. What forces drive the survival of these variants? How does HIV evolve as it passes from one host to another? Is HIV adapting to its new human host population and would we expect such adaptation to lead to more benign or more severe disease? In this research theme we use experimental and modelling work to explore these questions. Rodney Phillips supervises the experimental work and Angela McLean supervises the theoretical work.
Influenza is one of the most studied emerging infections. Novel strains emerge episodically and cause epidemics. More rarely substantial genetic change leads to global pandemics. Several methods for the control of the spread of infection are available, but how are they best used? How do logistic constraints impose planning for disease control? What kinds of scenarios should contingency plans encompass? We use mathematical models of the spread and control of influenza to address these kinds of questions. Angela McLean supervises this modelling work.