Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Oxford University researchers have found that human cells use viruses as Trojan horses, transporting a messenger that encourages the immune system to fight the very virus that carries it. The discovery could have implications for the design of new vaccines.

Scientists already knew that when a virus containing or producing DNA enters a cell in the body it is detected by a protein called cGAS. This in turn produces a small signalling molecule called cGAMP which acts as what’s known as a second messenger, activating other elements of the body's immune response. Now, the Oxford team have discovered that as some viruses replicate, they incorporate cGAMP, meaning that as they infect new cells the cGAMP immediately prompts an immune response.

Read more

Similar stories

Five ways the pandemic has affected routine medical care

Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID has infected at least a third of the UK population and is estimated to have factored in the deaths of almost 200,000 people in the UK. But critically, COVID has also had a devastating impact on our healthcare systems. While this was expected, new evidence is beginning to reveal the scope of the issue – in particular the effects for people living with long-term health conditions.

Clinical trials for a malaria vaccine start in Mali and Indonesia

Sanaria Inc. announced that two new Phase 2 trials of its pioneering malaria vaccines have started. The first is in 6- to 10-year-old children living in Bancoumana, Mali, a malarious region of West Africa. The second is in Indonesian soldiers based in Sumatra, Indonesia. The soldiers will be deploying for six to nine months this coming August to an intensely malarious district in eastern Indonesia.

Researchers discover novel form of adaptation in the auditory system

Researchers in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) have found that the auditory system adapts to the changing acoustics of reverberant environments by temporally shifting the inhibitory tuning of cortical neurons to remove reverberation.

20 minutes of daily exercise can keep teens' doctors away

Teenagers should exercise vigorously for at least 20 minutes per day to reap increased cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), according to a cross-sectional study from the UK led by University of Oxford researchers.

Mechanism of expanding bacteria revealed

A new study published in Nature has identified a potential Achilles heel in the protective layers surrounding Gram-negative bacteria that could aid in the development of next-generation antibiotics.

Discovery of gene involved in chronic pain creates new treatment target

Oxford researchers have discovered a gene that regulates pain sensitisation by amplifying pain signals within the spinal cord, helping them to understand an important mechanism underlying chronic pain in humans and providing a new treatment target.