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Gareth Brady specializes in how viruses and immune systems play hide and seek, evading or triggering various responses like inflammation. In this discussion, he adds precise and evocative information to Richard’s virus investigation.

He answers with an intriguing intensity, offering listeners key insights into the following:

  • How viruses invade our complex system of adaptive and innate immunities and how inflammation and interferon participate, 
  • How viral sensors were discovered in our cells only recently and what we can learn from their behavior, and
  • Why influenza coinfections are particularly dangerous and what does that tell us about how viruses adapt to our immune system.

Gareth Brady is the Ussher Assistant Professor in Clinical Medicine at Trinity College in Dublin. His current work is in the Translational Inflammation Research Group investigating viral structure and functions for inhibiting pathways to the immune response. He touches on multiple complex topics with ease, from viral entry mechanisms to viral spread and virus adaptation.

He begins with an intriguing description of a particular virus he studies, which is a virus in the pox family tree called, Molluscum Contagiosum Virus (MCV). It’s only able to infect humans and doesn’t cause disease—this indicates it is very good at getting around the immune system. If he can understand how it evades the immune system, it may lead to valuable understandings of how to inhibit damaging inflammation.

He also explains virus behavior in such a way that listeners will gain solid insight into innate and adaptive immunity processes and the long chain of events that trigger symptoms we eventually experience from inflammation to fever. He then applies this explanation to how different viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), cause lung swelling that is so detrimental. He is able to take this lesson and expand listeners’ understanding of how this process applies to virus latency, incubation periods, and coinfection.

He describes the virus and immune response process as a cold war in an arms race. He comments that it’s evolved to be complex because viruses have evolved to be more and more successful. In turn, viruses have forced humans to evolve multiple sensors to detect them. Furthermore, viruses have evolved multiple ways to get around these sensors and so one. Sit back and listen to this incredible journey through virus and human coevolution.

For more about his work see his working group page at Trinity: tcd.ie/medicine/thkc/research/inflammation.php.

Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK

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