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Webster Centre researchers, including Professor Andy Mercer, are researching a programme on human pathogenic viruses, drug targets and potential therapeutics.

Beneficial use of viruses

Professor Andy Mercer, research leader, is investigating characteristics of the orf virus.

“This somewhat paradoxical but beneficial use of viruses is a new development with potential benefits to a wide range of human conditions.”

The large complex orf virus, most common in people who have contact with infected sheep, causes severe skin lesions that, remarkably, heal without scarring.

The success of large DNA viruses is linked to their expression of an astonishing array of proteins that manipulate responses to infection. Some of these viral proteins are secreted from infected cells and dampen inflammation or increase blood supply to infected tissue, while others work within infected cells to protect the virus from our defences.

Recent funding success

Read more about Professor Mercer's recent success with Marsden funding:

Professor Andy Mercer achieves Marsden Grant success

Photo of Professor Andy Mercer
Professor Andy Mercer

Mercer Lab research Department of Microbiology and Immunology website

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