How measles suppresses immunity for years

18 December 2019
Presented by Amalia Thomas.


A measles virus particle (virion). The measles virus is a paramyxovirus, of the genus Morbillivirus. It is 100-200 nm in diameter, with a core of single-stranded RNA, and is closely related to the rinderpest and canine distemper viruses.


Measles was thought to have been eradicated from the UK in 2017, but following an outbreak the very next wear, we lost this elimination status. Measles is a highly infectious disease that can quickly spread through the unvaccinated population with a high complication rate involving pneumonia, gastroenteritis and even encephalitis. And having recovered from that, there's a further sting in the tail: measles virus suppresses the immune system for years after the infection clears. Amalia Thomas hears why from Velislava Petrova, at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge, who has discovered the mechanism behind this phenomenon…


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