Patient-cohort- and observational clinical studies

Although in clinical practice many infections can be diagnosed reliably,it is often difficult to predict the clinical course of an individual patient. By analyzing many patients with similar infectious diseases, so called cohort studies, we can learn more about pathogenesis and factors that affect clinical course and outcome. Additionally, by analysing of patients treated with the same drug valuable information about the mode of action, efficacy, and adverse effects of the drug within the human body can be retrieved.

Genetic causes of severe RSV infections among infants

Many infants contract a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection within their first months of life. In most cases these infections take a benign course. However, some infants develop severe disease with possible lethal consequences. We search for genetic markers that permit a prognosis of the course of infection in order to allocate preventive measure to those children at risk of severe disease.

Infections of the central nervous system

Infections of the central nervous system (CNS) can often not be distinguished on clinical grounds from non-infectious inflammatory disorders of this organ. Moreover, in many cases a causative pathogen cannot be identified. We are therefore searching for markers in cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid within and around the CNS and spinal cord) that will help in establishing diagnosis and prediction of clinical disease severity as early as possible.

Serolomics

In cohort-studies, we analyse the humoral immunity against the hepatits B virus. By differentiation of the immun responses against vaccination on the one hand and the natural immune response on the other hand, we can make statements about the spread of infection within population groups.

Clinical study on efficacy of influenza vaccination among elderly individuals

The elderly have a particularly high risk of developing a life-threatening influenza infection (“flu”). This is why seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended particularly for elderly individuals. However, efficacy of this vaccine decreases with advancing age. We are analyzing immune responses to influenza vaccination among elderly individuals. In particular, we are searching for markers that can predict the vaccine response even before vaccination. Our goal is to identify individuals with compromised immune function early on and to apply more special vaccination strategies tailored to the need of the individual.