Infectious Diseases: Global Challenges and Future Strategies

Over 400 scientists and physicians came together at the Joint Annual Meeting of the German Society of Infectious Diseases (DGI) and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), which took place in in Bad Nauheim from 21 to 23 November, 2019.

The conference provided unique integrative insights into the status of infectiology in Germany. Both experts and up-and-coming scientists spoke at the symposia lectures, workshops and poster sessions.

The DGI And DZIF Annual Meeting’s programme combined innovative research approaches with new patient care options and consequently made translational research results and clinical application the focus of attention.

Hot topics included antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and emerging infections like Ebola or Zika. “AMR is a threat for our planet as big as climate change,” stated Rino Rappuoli in his plenary lecture. The Italian physician from Siena underlined the importance of vaccines to meet the challenge of growing resistances: “Vaccines and antibiotics together have a better chance to control AMR”.

Another strategy for combating AMR was presented by Hinrich Schulenberg, evolutionary biologist at Kiel University. He stated that not taking into account dynamic evolutionary processes in antibiotic research it is a waste of money. He emphasized that the emerging field of evolutionary medicine could give important impulses in the research of synergistic treatment effects.
After the meeting, Stephan Becker, virologist at the University of Marburg and one of the scientific coordinators of DZIF, said, “International cooperation is one of the most important prerequisites to meet future challenges in the field of infectious diseases”. Recent successes such as developing a vaccine against Ebola and containing the Ebola outbreak in Congo underline this.

Gülşah Gabriel, virologist at the Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology and Professor at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Foundation, and Stefan Niemann, molecular microbiologist at the Research Center Borstel, impressed the judges with their scientific achievements. The German Center for Infection Research awarded them both a translational infection research prize worth EUR 5,000.

The Meta-Alexander-Prize (DGI), also worth EUR 5,000, was awarded to Julia Fischer, assistant physician at the Clinic I for Internal Medicine at the University Hospital of Cologne.
The next DZIF Annual Meeting will be held in Stuttgart from 23 to 24 November, 2020.

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The GloPID-R Secretariat is a project which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101094188.