Research Fellows Directory
Dr Victoria Money
University of Durham
Human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) is the single most important cause of infections of the lower airways in babies and young children. Other vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, can also be badly affected. The World Health Organisation estimates that annual global infection and mortality rates are 64 million and 160000 respectively. Moreover, individuals who suffer from severe lower airway infections are more prone to asthma and other complications. Despite the importance of the virus, both economically and from a human health standpoint, there is currently no effective, safe vaccine or anti-viral treatment.
We use biophysical techniques, and other methods including X-ray crystallography, to understand how the components of the virus (the viral proteins) work together to form an infectious unit. If we can understand the interactions which underpin assembly of the virus at the infected cell surface this will be the first step towards developing a treatment to stop the formation of new viruses and so prevent infection.
The results of this programme of research will answer fundamental questions about how hRSV works on a molecular level. This will be of considerable assistance in the development of a vaccine for this serious illness. hRSV is related to a number of the most important and infectious human and animal pathogens including: measles, mumps, Ebola and Newcastle disease. Taking their effect on animal and human health together these are some of the most costly viruses on the planet. By working towards a better understanding of hRSV we will be able to apply our new findings to these related viruses.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)