New pioneering Leibniz Lab to combat the pandemic: “Pandemic Preparedness”

| by Friederike Gawlik

The Leibniz-HKI is participating in the Leibniz Lab “Pandemic Preparedness”, which addresses the most pressing issues in dealing with future pandemics. The new dynamic think tank brings together experts from various disciplines. Together, they want to develop evidence-based strategies to strengthen society's pandemic resilience in the long term.

The new Leibniz Lab pools the knowledge of 41 institutes of the Leibniz Association in order to prepare for future pandemics. The focus is on four key areas that are addressed from multiple perspectives:

  • the interaction of the environment, animals and humans in relation to the development and spread of pathogens,
  • the reduction of the physical and psychological burden of illness,
  • efficient pandemic management,
  • improving the resilience of education systems in pandemic situations.

New respiratory pathogens are considered to be triggers for future pandemics. These include the spore-forming fungi investigated at the Leibniz-HKI, such as Aspergillus fumigatus, the cause of life-threatening pulmonary aspergillosis. “Pandemic Preparedness” researches measures to reduce the risk of animal-to-human transmission, existing immunities and mechanisms of disease progression. The aim is to make urban areas and healthcare systems more resilient to future pandemics, to support political and societal stakeholders with evidence-based recommendations for action and to develop international strategies related to pandemics.

The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology is also involved in the new Leibniz Lab. As part of this consortium, the institute contributes its expertise to studying and combating infectious diseases, particularly in the field of human fungal infections, which pose an increasing threat to public health. With its research topics, the Leibniz-HKI is helping to deepen the understanding of fungal infections and to develop new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat fungal infections. In this way, the institute aims to make an important contribution to strengthening global healthcare, even in pandemic situations, and to prepare society for future health challenges.