Infectious Diseases – a Global Threat

Infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi are responsible for more than a fifth of all human deaths annually. Despite improved hygiene and vaccinations, they still pose a global threat to human health. Even in industrialized countries, infections cause enormous social and economic damage through prolonged hospital stays and premature death. Unsurprisingly, infectious diseases make up the majority of the ten largest global health threats listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2019.

HZI’s Mission

The central mission of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) is to address the infectious disease challenges of the 21st century. To make this possible, HZI has implemented its competitive programme “Infection Research”. The programme puts particular emphasis on the transfer of research results to application. In line with the mission of the Helmholtz Association, HZI pursues long-term and strategic infection research addressing one of the greatest health threats facing society.

HZI scientists promote clinical and pharmaceutical innovation by combining groundbreaking fundamental research with clinically oriented investigation and drug development. HZI's unique interdisciplinary approach enables development of novel, patient-tailored solutions for diagnosis, prevention, treatment as well as surveillance and control of infectious diseases. This will put HZI in a key position to help compensate for the withdrawal of the pharmaceutical industry from the development of anti-infectives, in particular antibiotics.


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