Infection

  • A new study shows how dangerous germs travel as stowaways from one continent to another

    Using a special culture, germs from smears can be recognized and identified. Photo: WWU/H. Dornhege

    As scientists from Münster University, in collaboration with the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, have now demonstrated, toilets at airports are also a “transfer point” for germs. These include germs against which traditional antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial infections are not, or only partially, effective.
    Münster (mfm/sm) – Everyday life at an airport: there’s still time before the jet taking passengers to faraway countries takes off – time enough for a quick visit to the toilet. What awaits passengers there is not always a pleasant sight. However, what they don’t see can be much worse. As scientists from Münster University, in collaboration with the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, have now demonstrated, toilets at airports are also a “transfer point” for germs.

  • Dissecting bacterial infections at the single-cell level

    Left: a macrophage (nucleus in blue) infected with a non-replicating bacteria in yellow indicated by an arrow and on the right infected with bacteria that has replicated (red). (Picture: Antoine-Emmanuel Saliba)

    Technological advances are making the analysis of single bacterial infected human cells feasible, Würzburg researchers have used this technology to provide new insight into the Salmonella infection process. The study has just been published in “Nature Microbiology”. Infectious diseases are a leading cause of mortality worldwide. The development of novel therapies or vaccines requires improved understanding of how viruses, pathogenic fungi or bacteria cause illnesses.

  • Immune system reactions elucidated by mathematics

    Bacteria of the species Streptococcus pneumoniae colonising an endothelial cell. HZI/M. Rohde

    Using computer-based simulations and mouse experiments, HZI researchers disentangled the effects of proinflammatory signaling molecules on the post-influenza susceptibility to pneumococcal coinfection. A body infected by the influenza virus is particularly susceptible to other pathogens. Bacteria like Streptococcus pneumoniae, i.e. the pathogen causing pneumonia, find it easy to attack an influenza-modulated immune system and to spread widely. This can even be fatal in some cases. The reasons for the bacterial growth in the presence of a coinfection by influenza virus and bacteria is still debatable.

  • Körpereigene Nanopartikel als Transporter für Antibiotika

    Dr. Gregor Fuhrmann vom Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland (HIPS). G. Fuhrmann

    Neue BMBF-Nachwuchsgruppe um Gregor Fuhrmann erforscht, wie Medikamente gezielt zu Krankheitserregern im Körper geschleust werden können. Bakterien entwickeln zunehmend Resistenzen gegen die gängig eingesetzten Antibiotika – unter anderem als Folge der übermäßigen und zum Teil falschen Anwendung der Medikamente. Zudem haben Antibiotika häufig unangenehme Nebenwirkungen, da sie auch nützliche Bakterien abtöten. Der Pharmazeut Dr. Gregor Fuhrmann, Wissenschaftler am Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland (HIPS), möchte eine Technologie entwickeln, mit der Antibiotika im Körper gezielt zu den krankmachenden Bakterien transportiert werden.