These studies will contribute to a better understanding of interhuman barriers by identifying the pathogens determinants, in relation to host factors, that facilitate human-to-human transmission of pandemic respiratory viruses and bacteria.
Research on pathogen adaptation to new hosts: How zoonotic pathogens adapt to their new host to become transmissible in humans – and as a consequence cause pandemics – is largely unknown. This is a crucial gap in our knowledge if we wish to predict which pathogens will cause the next pandemic, and why. In ANTIGONE, we will advance our knowledge of transmission using four model respiratory pathogen families (three viral, one bacterial) that transmit via different routes. As such, we will develop in-vitro phenotypic markers that may predict transmission and identify genetic markers in the virus genome that predict transmission. This research will contribute towards increased knowledge of mechanisms leading to human-to-human transmission, and a fundamental step towards prediction which pathogens may emerge globally in humans in the future.
Model pathogens studied: SARS Coronavirus, Influenzavirus A, Metapneumovirus, Yersinia pestis
Research on potential antimicrobials for treatment of patients infected with pathogenic E. coli. Studies on pathogenic E. coli will identify antimicrobials that are suitable for treatment of patients infected with EHEC O104:H4 and of shedders, determine the influence of environmental conditions on the induction of stx-phages, and develop a panel of real-time multiplex PCRs for the specific detection of each of the 42 HUSEC types present in the HUSEC collection. These studies will improve our abilities of early detection and effective response against pathogenic E. coli outbreaks.