Elucidating Pathomechanisms of Bacterial Viral Coinfections with New Biomedical Models

Viral infections in the nasopharynx pave the way for subsequent bacterial infections, which can lead to severe courses of illness. In particular, coinfections of the so-called flu viruses - Influenza A viruses - with bacteria, which cause severe pneumonia, are connected to high annual mortality rates. KoInfekt plans to examine the coinfections of Influenza A viruses with the most important bacterial pathogens of secondary infections, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus suis, Staphylococcus aureusandStreptococcus pyogenes. The goal is to elucidate the host-pathogen interactions, the course of illness and the host immune response in order to produce new strategies for fighting and preventing illness. These coinfections do not only occur in humans, but also in pigs. As there is an 80% match of the pig’s genome with the human’s genome, pigs are to be established as humanlike biomedical infection models for the coinfection of Influenza A Viruses with bacteria. KoInfekt’s results should establish improved prognoses for the course of illness of coinfections, as well as molecular biomarkers, and it is expected that the results will be translatable for use in clinical treatment.
The project is being carried out in cooperation with the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut - Federal Research Institute for Animal Health.
Webpage KoInfekt

Excerpt from the jury’s vote:

“The scientific approach deals with coinfections of viral and bacterial infections. These combined infections which are relevant to humans, also occur in pigs and are thus also relevant for veterinary care. Therefore, the mechanisms of coinfections are going to be examined on pigs first. As the pig’s genome matches 80% of the human genome, strong transferability can be expected for coinfections in humans. The Jury considers this approach to be promising.”

Contact at the University of Greifswald
Prof. Dr. Sven Hammerschmidt
University of Greifswald
Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahnstraße 15a
17489 Greifswald
Tel.: +49 (0)3834 420 5700
Fax: +49 (0)3834 420 5709
Interfakultäres Institut für Genetik und Funktionelle Genomforschung

Research project within the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania State Excellence Initiative, funded by the European Union (ESF)