People infected with many serious illnesses, including tuberculosis and hepatitis C, may show no symptoms of disease for long periods of time. These inactive, or "latent," infections, however, can develop into active disease without warning, and also can be passed on to others. New approaches that focus on controlling or stimulating the immune system to cure latent infections or prevent them from causing disease have the potential to significantly reduce illness, death, and disease transmission. Dr. Ahmed and his team are working to create safe and effective immunological therapies for chronic hepatitis C infection and other viral infections such as HIV by developing methods to reactivate "exhausted" immune cells that are thought be unable to clear the infection.
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