Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology


DAAD funds eight new Global Centers for Climate and Health

Global challenges can only be mastered through cooperation. This belief is the basis of the DAAD’s programme to promote the establishment of eight Global Centres dedicated to climate & the environment, as well as health & pandemic prevention, using funding from the Federal Foreign Office. One of the four funded Global Health and Pandemic Preparedness Centers is the German-West African Centre for Global Health and Pandemic Prevention (G-WAC) Ghana (+westafrican region).

About G-WAC:

Topic: Global pandemics and their key drivers, as well as essential elements of resilient health systems under the One Health approach 
Institution: Berlin School of Public Health (Technical University Berlin and Charité Berlin) and University of Bonn (Institute of Medical Microbiology Immunology and Parasitology and the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health)
Partner: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and others

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Worm infestation in intestine has a remote effect on viral defenses

Infection with parasitic intestinal worms (helminths) can apparently cause sexually transmitted viral in-fections to be much more severe elsewhere in the body. This is shown by a study led by the Universities of Cape Town and Bonn. According to the study, helminth-infected mice developed significantly more severe symptoms after infection with a genital herpes viruses (Herpes Simplex Virus). The researchers suspect that these results can also be transferred to humans. The results have now appeared in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

In sub-Saharan Africa, both worm infections and sexually transmitted viral diseases are extremely com-mon. These viral infections are also often particularly severe. It is possible that these findings are related. At least, this is the conclusion suggested by the current findings from mice.

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A Trap for Nematodes

Filariae, slender but sometimes up to 70 centimeters long nematodes, can set up residence in their host quite tenaciously and cause serious infectious diseases in the tropics. The tiny larvae of the worms are usually transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes, which pick up the larvae from the blood or subcutaneous tissue when they bite and deposit them in the vessels or tissues of their next victim. Researchers led by the University of Bonn have now investigated a mechanism by which the immune system attacks the filariae. Certain immune cells, the eosinophil granulocytes, release DNA that forms a kind of web around the larvae and traps them. The researchers also identified which protein "turns on" the mechanism, known as the Dectin-1 receptor. The study has been published in the journal Cell Reports DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108621 .

Read full press release here

Coronavirus: Are parasitic worms responsible for low fatality rates in Africa? | COVID-19 Special

One of the dominant features of parasitic worms is ensuring their survival in the host body by supressing the immune responses... Watch this Deutsche Welle COVID-19 special (DW)  where Prof. Achim Hörauf addresses the question as to whether worms have a role in the low fatality rates in Africa.

Kigali Summit 2021 - A Milestone in the Fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases

At a joint event organised by the Rwanda Department of the Rhineland-Palatinate State Government and the DNTDs on the occasion of the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs in June 2021, NTDs were the focus of discussions. Prof. Dr. Achim Hörauf, speaker of the DNTDs, Director IMMIP, explained some disease patterns of NTDs and placed the Kigali Summit in the context of the numerous activities in the field of global health policy. Continue reading...

A fascination for roundworms

Worms and other parasites cause numerous and widespread tropical diseases which are largely overlooked. At the DZIF, research teams are focused on fighting these diseases. Since August 2020, parasitologist Professor Marc Hübner has been developing this research further as a DZIF Professor for Translational Microbiology at the Bonn-Cologne partner site.

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Neglected Tropical Diseases and their Importance In Europe - Chagas Disease is a Tropical Disease that Receives Litttle Attention

To kick off the Action Week Against NTDs, the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases (DNTDs)  under the patronage of Dr. Georg Kippels MdB, organized and  hosted a Webtalk on Chagas disease. The Webtalk had presentations from Dr. Thomas Jacobs, Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin Hamburg (BNITM),... Continue reading

World NTD Day - 5 Questions for the Expert

The National Research Platform for Zoonoses took the opportunity of the World NTD day to inteview  to Prof. Achim Hoerauf on NTDs. Prof. Achim Hoerauf is the Speaker of the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases (DNTDS) and Director of IMMIP, he has been  conducting research on neglected tropical diseases for years, especially on filariasis (diseases caused by parasitic filarial worms). They asked him 5 questions about NTDs.Full interview here (in German)...