Research Projects (Third party funds)
Novel strategies for the prevention and control of persistent infections
Persistent infections such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), tuberculosis´(TB) in humans and para-tuberculosis (ParaTB)-, mycoplasma- and Haemophilus-infections in farm animals are global health problems of immense social and economic importance . HIV-1 affects about 40 million people and M. tuberculosis infection is even higher world-wide. M. tuberculosis is a slowly replicating bacillus that resides intracellularly within phagosomes of macrophages and commonly causes latent infections of the lung and in about 5% of the infected individuals it leads to active disease. Co-infection with M. tuberculosis is estimated in about one-third of HIV-1 infected subjects. Indeed, the risk of developing M. tuberculosis as an opportunistic infection is increased up to 200-fold in HIV-1 + subjects. Globally, there are more than 14 million persons dually infected with TB and HIV. Drug resistance to HIV-treatment and appearance of multiple-drug resistance (MDR) and off late of Extra-Drug Resistance (XDR) strains of M. tuberculosis , the causative agent of human TB is steadily leading to a hopeless situation as far as the therapy is concerned. To make things worse, there is no effective vaccine available against HIV. M. bovis BCG, the only vaccine available against TB, has shown highly variable efficiency and has been very often ineffective. Its use has been discontinued in several countries. John’s diseases or para-tuberculosis is a chronic , debilitating entritis of ruminants leading to serious production-limiting consequences world-wide. Similarly, procine respiratory infections caused by Mycoplasma and Haemophilus species are emerging pathogens already causing massive economic losses to the European pig industry which have been estimated to be in excess of 1 billion Euro per year. Diagnostics of all the these infections mentioned above is extremely difficult and time-consuming and no efficient, cost effective tests are available for an early diagnosis of these infections.
LIONEX Diagnostics & Therapeutics GmbH (Coordinator),