Chronic Infections: Microbial Persistence and its Control
Infectious diseases will exist as long as there are people. And in spite of all the successes so far in identifying infectious agents and all the therapeutic options available, infectious disease remains the most common cause of death worldwide.Acute waves of infections, for example seasonal flu or the worldwide SARS outbreak, regularly make headlines in the media. The chronic forms of many infectious diseases are much less well known to the general public, although it is precisely these illnesses which claim many victims, even in the highly developed countries of the world.
Research into microorganisms and the mechanisms by which they permanently colonise people is at the centre of the “Chronic Infections and their control” Collaborative Research Centre. The interdisciplinary research consortium is funded by the German Research Foundation and brings together scientists and doctors from the Hannover Medical School, from Twincore GmbH and from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig. The aim of the joint research project is to establish a basis for the development of new therapies and vaccinations for infectious diseases.
The Collaborative Research Centre has three different project divisions, linked by connections between projects.In project division A the research focusses on the means by which the genetic variation in some microorganisms contributes to their abilities to permanently colonise the human body.Project division B is concerned with the interplay between the infectious agents that cause chronic diseases and peoples’ immune systems. Here scientists are asking how viruses and bacteria foil the human immune system.In project division C the factors in human cells that allow long-term infection by various viruses are being investigated.