Single-Cell Solutions

Cameron working in a lab with instruments in hand

Understanding cells could not only be the key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic – but also any new future pandemics. That’s what Craig Cameron, the Jeffrey Houpt Distinguished Investigator and professor and chair of microbiology and immunology within the UNC School of Medicine, has strived to do since the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Cameron’s method to prepare for potential future viruses focuses on how single cells react once a virus has infected them.

In 1983, while in high school, Cameron saw the cover of an issue from Newsweek that had a blood vial with a label reading, “CAUTION KS/AIDS.” Years after seeing this issue as well as working with aids patients while volunteering, Cameron is focusing his research on developing antiviral therapeutics and strategies for vaccine development at UNC-Chapel Hill.

One of the most interesting things Cameron has discovered through his research is a phenomenon where a virus spreads to another cell that doesn’t become permeable at all – that is the virus cannot enter the cell.

Cameron thinks all of his work and findings are relevant to the current ongoing pandemic.

“I think a lot of people are actually going to be motivated to go into virology because of all this happening with COVID-19,” Cameron said.

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