Professor Will Irving, the University of Nottingham
My name is Will Irving and I am a virologist and I work at the University of Nottingham and the University of Nottingham is intimately involved with STOP-HCV through a number of activities and I think first and foremost, I have been involved together with colleagues in Glasgow in setting up something called HCV Research UK, which is a national cohort of over 10,000 patients with Hepatitis C infection who have enrolled with their written, informed consent and donated to us their biological samples and their clinical data so that we can conduct research studies and all the clinical data is managed and looked after in Nottingham. All the biological samples we have from these patients goes to our biobank in Glasgow.
As a result of this, HCV Research UK has supplied data and samples to a new of laboratories that are involved in STOP-HCV that have done some very sophisticated research looking at the host genetic background and what effect that has on Hepatitis C infection, looking at the genetics of the virus, looking at the host immune response and trying to identify markers which will tell us which patients are doing to do well and which patients are at perhaps higher risk of more severe outcomes from the Hepatitis C infection.
In addition to HCV Research UK, our virology laboratory contributes to stop HCV looking at the antibody response to infections, so antibodies are part of the host immune response which ideally would neutralise virus and enable an infected patient to eliminate the virus and the lab run by my colleague, Jonathan Ball and Alex Tarr has an interest in understanding how these antibodies work, how they neutralise virus and why in some patients, this neutralisation affect doesn’t seem to happen. So from my prospective, I am extremely grateful to a very large number of patients and the medical staff looking after those patients in 60 different centres across the UK who have contributed their samples and their consent to enable us to partake in really what is a very exciting research study.