German center for infection research planned



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German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) planned

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has received a final recommendation from an independent panel of experts to set up the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) in Braunschweig. In the future, the DZIF is to develop new therapeutic approaches, vaccines, vaccination procedures and medications against a wide variety of pathogens.

Universities, clinics and research centers from seven locations across Germany will in future work together in the German Center for Infection Research to develop new strategies to combat infectious diseases. According to the previous plans, the DZIF will be based at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig.

German Center for Infection Research to start in autumn 2011 At the end of 2010, an independent panel of experts across Germany had selected the most powerful facilities for the establishment of the German Center for Infection Research. The assessment of the overall scientific concept has now been completed and a recommendation has been made to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to start building the DZIF immediately. The exact organization of the DZIF and the research priorities are to be specified in the coming months, so that the DZIF can probably start its research work in autumn 2011.

Development of new active substances and treatment approaches Although the exact contents of the research work of the DZIF are still being worked out, the scientific director of the HZI in Braunschweig, Prof. Dirk Heinz, explained in advance that "the development of new anti-infective active substances (...) will be a central topic in the future Research effort ”. Because "more and more pathogens are becoming resistant to conventional antibiotics, so that" new substances and strategies "are urgently needed to tackle the multi-resistant pathogens," emphasized Prof. Heinz. In recent years, pathogens that are resistant to all common antibiotics have been detected with increasing frequency. In particular, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) - multi-resistant bacteria of the genus Staphylococci - repeatedly cause considerable problems in hospitals and care facilities, with sometimes fatal consequences for the patient. But the so-called super germ NDM-1 (New Delhi Metallo-Beta-Lactamase) also caused a lot of excitement at the end of last year because it apparently passes on its inherent resistance to other strains of bacteria. By exchanging parts of the genome with other bacteria, antibiotic resistance could be transferred relatively easily between the bacterial strains, according to the fear of medical experts worldwide after the discovery of the new pathogen.

Research network of the German Center for Infection Research In the future, the German Center for Infection Research will not only focus on researching dangerous pathogens, but will also develop new treatment approaches and active substances. Overall, the scientific director of the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Professor Dirk Heinz, rated the decision to set up the DZIF as positive. "This is a great success for us and the entire research region," emphasized Prof. For him, an important goal of the research network is also improved translation, that is, an optimization of the transfer of knowledge and innovations from basic research to clinical practice. In addition to the HZI in Braunschweig, the Hannover Medical School (MHH), the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover (TiHo), the Technical University of Braunschweig, the Twincore Center for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research and the German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures (DSMZ) are also involved. (fp)

Also read:
Hospital germs: Staphylococci prefer blood
The new super germ NDM-1
WHO warns of antibiotic resistance
Doctors prescribe too many antibiotics

Image: Gerd Altmann, Pixelio.de (image shows staphylococci as a fake)

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