In order to effectively protect immunocompromised patients from infection, their specific risk of infection must be accurately estimated. Various reasons leading to a weakened immune system can include surgery, tumour therapy and intensive care medicine, and also genetic variations. For example, a genetic defect can lead to the person affected becoming susceptible to infections caused by certain fungi or viruses. In many cases, the analysis of such genetic defects can also clarify the cause of immunodeficiency.
Alongside genetic analyses, scientists aim to develop new diagnostic biomarkers that indicate the level of risk of infection and the possibilities of specifically reinforcing the immune system. They investigate, for example, methods in which to make bone marrow transplants safer for patients whose compromised immune systems are often targeted by cytomegaloviruses.