Susceptibility to infection: What part do genes play?
What role does the human genome play in susceptibility to infection? How do genes influence the multiplication of viruses and our defences against them? The RESIST team is probing these questions – so that we can better predict how severe an infection is likely to be for a given individual and thus reach conclusions on the best treatment for them. Furthermore, people who are especially at risk of infection can be protected at an early stage – by vaccination, for example.
This may even influence survival in (for example) those with the RSV cold virus, which can cause severe to life-threatening respiratory tract infections in young children.
Varicella zoster and herpes simplex viruses may also cause serious diseases, such as shingles or encephalitis.
RESIST will also explore the genetic causes of severe congenital immune deficiencies. For, in many cases, it remains unclear which genetic defects cause these deficiencies and why the immune system does not respond effectively. Bacteria and fungi may lead to severe infection in people with a genetically determined susceptibility to infection.