Members of the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation are making extraordinary advances in health and medicine.
VI4 is developing therapies for the treatment of infection, autoimmunity, and cancer. At the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic is the laboratory of VI4 member, Dr. Mark R. Denison.
COVID-19 is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2 that is in a family of viruses known as coronaviruses. The Denison lab is one of the world’s leading coronavirus research laboratories. The team studies anti-viral drugs called “nucleoside analogs”. These are molecules that corrupt the genetic code of the virus and limit the virus from making copies of itself and growing within our bodies. Drugs like these can save the lives of COVID patients and reduce spread of the virus to other people. The team is also working at the front line of the race for a vaccine. They use their unique expertise to analyze blood samples from volunteers who received an experimental vaccine to find out if they are protected against COVID-19. Having an effective vaccine is key to ending the pandemic soon, because once most people are immune, the virus will stop circulating in the community.
This is one of the many ways that VI4 researchers are working to discover treatments for infections, autoimmune diseases, and cancer!