Viruses, like influenza and SARS-CoV-2, can make you sick. Children are great at controlling viral infections resulting in mild symptoms, like a running nose, cough and fever, which resolve within a few days. Elderly people have a reduced ability to control infections, resulting severe disease, hospitalization and even death.
Dr Carolien van de Sandt’s research aims to understand why our immune system loses its ability to respond to viruses as we get older. She compares killer-T-cells of children and elderly people to understand why they respond differently and use this knowledge to improve vaccines and treatment strategies.