LOEWE Center DRUID
Duration: January 1, 2018 - December 31, 2021
More than one billion people in 149 countries throughout the world suffer from poverty-associated and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) caused by infectious pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites, or fungi). NTDs can take on highly accute, life-threatening forms and often lead to severe chronic diseases. Fighting them is therefore an urgent necessity from both a medical and humanitarian viewpoint, and at the same time it significantly contributes to breaking the cycle of poverty that not only increases risks of infection but also leads to life-threatening living conditions, social injustice, propensity to violence, and migration. Likewise, political instability, violence, kidnappings, migration, and mobility, as well as climatic changes can facilitate the spread of NTDs. Moreover, for most NTDs there are not enough effective drugs, many of those currently used have major side effects, and drug resistance is manifesting itself or threatens to do so in many cases.
The LOEWE Center DRUID unites the leading Hessian medical universities as well as the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) and the University of Applied Science in Central Hessen in order to address urgent questions on the identification and characterization of potential target molecules for drug development, vaccines, and diagnostics against poverty-associated and neglected infectious diseases. Under the leadership of Justus Liebig University Giessen, more than 30 scientists in more than 20 interdisciplinary research projects have come together to synergetically combine capacities and expertise in this field already available in Hessen. For DRUID, targets from transcription/translation, cytosolic and membrane-associated targets, and targets in hosts and vectors will be addressed in five project areas.
The LOEWE Center DRUID therefore represents the result of concerted development of research into infection biology in Hessen and is a unique national consortium project with international visibility.