Numerous bacteria, viruses and parasites cause gastrointestinal infections. According to the WHO, approximately 1.5 million people worldwide die of diarrhoeal disease alone. Children under the age of five living in developing countries are particularly affected by conditions such as diarrhoea and vomiting all the way through to malnutrition and death. Alongside the pathogens responsible for diarrhoeal disease, one of the most important gastrointestinal pathogens is Helicobacter pylori. It is the main cause of gastric ulcers and gastric cancer and it is estimated that half the population is infected.
The DZIF research field “Gastrointestinal Infections” aims to improve diagnosis, treatment and prevention of bacterial infections of the stomach and gut. Amongst other things, scientists develop new treatment strategies that selectively target specific bacteria or pathogen groups. They research the composition of natural gut flora and the role of microorganisms in disease development. Alongside this, both preventive and therapeutic vaccines are being developed.
Research on the composition and function of natural gut flora, and its role in the development and prevention of gastrointestinal diseases. The aim is to improve the gut flora to specifically benefit the patient.