Susceptibility to infection: how do viruses manage to remain in the body?

The RESIST team is also looking for ways to protect people from herpes viruses and their consequences. These viruses are easily transmitted and persist throughout the host’s lifetime, including a dormant period during which there are no signs of illness. In susceptible individuals they may lead to serious skin conditions such as shingles or herpetic eczema, and can even damage the nervous system. They may also cause cancers such as lymphoma (affecting the lymphatic system), nasopharyngeal carcinoma and Kaposi’s sarcoma.

But how do herpes-viruses manage to survive and multiply in the human body? How can new, improved drugs be developed that complement already existing medications? The RESIST team is seeking answers to these questions. Its researchers want to make herpes viruses vulnerable to attack, especially during their dormant stage. The investigated pathogens in Project Area D include the Cytomegalovirus, the Varicella Zoster Virus, the Kaposi Sarcoma Virus and the Herpes Simplex Virus. Moreover, on the site of the host RESIST investigators analye innate immunse senosrs for development of novel therapeutic approaches against infectious and inflammatory diseases.

Projects in area D (viruses)

D1

Improved therapies against herpesviruses: How can we stop the life cycle of these pathogens at an early step?

Persistent viral infections with human herpesviruses represent a serious threat to susceptible and immunocompromised individuals like newborn babies, senior individuals, transplant recipients and persons with other immune defects or concurrent infections. The β-herpesvirus HCMV (Human Cytomegalovirus) for example…

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D2

Herpesviral assembly: Which new therapeutic options arise when the process of herpesviral assembly is explored?

While a healthy immune system is able to control herpesviruses, primary and recurrent infections can cause severe disease; particularly very early in life and in the elderly as well as in individuals with increased susceptibility, either due to genetic factors or to immune suppression, e.g., after organ transplantation…

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D3

Herpes virus infections inhibit: How can novel drug targets be identified?

Human herpes viruses are the causative agents of an array of diseases like chickenpox, Zoster, Herpes encephalitis, infections of the newborn, a range of diseases in immunocompromised patients, infectious mononucleosis. Two of the human herpesviruses, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV)…

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D4

Innate immune sensors: Can we use the modulation of those for development of new drugs against infectious and inflammatory diseases?

The innate immune sensors activate interferon-driven antiviral responses upon recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and serve as a rheostat for the metabolic activity of the microbiota and its exposure to diet, xenobiotics, and infections…

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