Resistances, infections, pandemics

What effects do infections have on societies? What dangers are threatened by antibiotic resistances? How do we approach vaccines? These are three of the central questions of the Working Group Infection Research and Society. Since 2010 it has been one of the most important circles of experts in Germany. It comprises an interdisciplinary group of Academy Members from throughout Northern Germany and it challenges and inspires academic and public discussions in the context of infection and society. The Working Group also advises political decision-makers.

Goals of the Working Group Infection Research and Society

  • Inspiring discussion on the topic of infection and society among experts and also in the broader circle of the Academy and the public

Project Description

The Working Group sees itself as a forum for the discussion of issues concerning the connection between infection and society:

  • Understanding microbes
  • Recognising reciprocal connections between microbes and their biotopes (biomics)
  • Improving diagnostics and therapies
  • Raising the awareness of politics and the public
  • Individual and social perception of infections
  • Political, legal aspects
  • Changes in infection events through technological, social and climatic change

 

 

 

“Infections and the fear of them have always shaped social developments – from greeting rituals to urban planning to the fear of migration. We will never be able to entirely overcome the dangers from the huge variety of microbes. But we can learn how to deal with them.”

Prof. Dr. Ansgar W. Lohse, Medicine, Spokesperson of the Working Group Infection Research and Society

 

Review and Perspectives

  • Discussion of important issues in infection research with high social relevance

  • Advising political decision-makers in this area and mediating discussion between the most important groups in the area of antibiotic research in Germany

  • July 2021: Publication of the conference papers Infektionen und Gesellschaft. COVID-19, frühere und zukünftige Herausforderungen durch Pandemien. (“Infections and society. COVID-19, past and future challenges from pandemics”) Edited by Ansgar W. Lohse. Hardback edition and Open Access publication – at https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-63509-4

  • 8 May 2021: Guest column in the Hamburger Abendblatt: "Wir brauchen ein Institut für Pandemieforschung in Hamburg!" (“We need an institute for pandemic research in Hamburg!”)

  • 30 October 2020, Hamburg: Symposium "Infektionen und Gesellschaft" (“Infection and society”)

  • 8 September 2020, Hamburg: Publication of the discussion paper "Impfen: dringender Handlungsbedarf, großer Forschungsbedarf" (“Vaccination: urgent need for action, great need for research”)

  • 33 July 2020, Bonn/Halle/Hamburg: Publication of the thesis-paper "Strukturen der universitären Infektionsmedizin und der Krankenhaushygiene in Deutschland"(“Structures of university-based Infectious Medicine and hospital hygiene in Germany”), together with the Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Nationalen Akademie der Wissenschaften Leopoldina

  • 25 to26 October 2019: Work meeting “Antiinfektive Therapiestrategien der Zukunft” (“Anti-infective treatment strategies of the future”)

  • 15 July 2019: Podium discussion: "Impfen – ermöglichen, erleichtern, erzwingen?" (“Vaccination – enable, facilitate, compel?”)

  • 27 June 2019, Halle/Hamburg: Publication of the discussion paper​​​​​​​ "Gemeinsam Schutz aufbauen. Verhaltenswissenschaftliche Optionen zur stärkeren Inanspruchnahme von Schutzimpfungen", (“Build up protection together. Behavioural Science options for a greater take-up of protective vaccinations”), together with the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

  • 28 March 2019, Lübeck: Interdisciplinary Symposium "Achtung: Ansteckend!" (“Warning: Infectious!”) with an evening lecture in cooperation with the European Hansemuseum, the Willy-Brandt-Haus and the Zentrum für Kulturwissenschaftliche Forschung Lübeck (ZKFL)

  • December 2018: Publication of the results of the symposium “Rationale Entscheidungen unter Unsicherheit” (“Rational decision-making based on uncertainty”) in the series "Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Hamburg" (vol. 8)

  • 24 to 26 October 2018, Jena: Conference “Infectious diseases in the 21st century. Global Challenges for Health and Society” in cooperation with the consortium InfectControl 2020, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Foundation “Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung”

  • 19 to 20 April 2018, Hamburg: Round Table “Strukturen der Infektionsmedizin und der Hygiene in Deutschland” (“Structures of Infectious Medicine and Hygiene in Germany”) in cooperation with the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

  • 27 to 28 November 2017: Scientific symposium on the topic “Rationale Entscheidungen unter Unsicherheit” together with the Working Group of the same name: Rationale Entscheidungen auf unsicheren Grundlagen

  • August 2017: Update and expansion of the position paper on antibiotic research, with increased consideration given, in content and structure, to One Health aspects and continuation of the Round Table “Antibiotics Research” in the discussion paper "Antibiotika-Forschung - 5 Jahre danach" (“Antibiotics research – five years later”), together with the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

  • 12 to 13 May 2016: Third Round Table on Antibiotic Research “Fünf Jahre danach: Was hat sich im Bereich der Antibiotika-Forschung getan? Wo ist zukünftiger Bedarf?” (“Five years later: What has happened in the area of antibiotics research? What is needed in future?”), together with the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

  • 1 to 2 June 2015: Workshop “Infektionen, das Individuum und die Gesellschaft” (“Infections, the individual and society”) together with the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina​​​​​​​; Documentation of the results

  • 29 April 2015: Participation in the “Dialogue forum of the national academies of sciences of the G7 States”; position paper handed over to Chancellor Angela Merkel

  • 27 March 2015: Second Round Table on Antibiotics Research “Use of antibiotics and development of resistances in human and veterinary medicine: facts and prejudices”, together with the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

  • 15 April 2014: Workshop “Antibiotics: Limitations in Development?” together with the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina; Documentation of the result

  • 14 March 2014: Workshop: “Use of antibiotics and development of resistances in human and veterinary medicine: facts and prejudices” together with the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina; Documentation of the results

  • 13 November 2013: First Round Table on Antibiotics Research “Stand der Antibiotika-Forschung und neue Entwicklungen” (“Current state of antibiotics research and new developments”) together with the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

  • January 2013: Publication of the position paper "Antibiotika-Forschung: Probleme und Perspektiven" (“Antibiotics Research: Problems and Perspectives”) together with the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina; including the recommendation that a Round Table on antibiotic research be set up, the “Round Table on Antibiotics Research”

  • 8 June 2011: Workshop "Strukturen der Klinischen Infektiologie in Deutschland" (“Structures of clinical Infectious Medicine in Germany”)

  • 25 to 26 February 2011: Workshop “Warum brauchen wir neue Antibiotika (und bekommen keine?)” (“Why do we need new antibiotics [and why aren’t we getting any?]”)

  • Summer 2010: Academy Lecture Series on the theme “Ansteckend – Über Infektionskrankheiten” (“Infectious – on infectious diseases”)

“The inter- and transdisciplinary composition of the Working Group is decisive. It makes it possible to expand one’s own horizon. Our tasks include thinking ahead and persistently reflecting, so that we as a society do not lose sight of anything. The resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is continuing to develop also in the time of coronavirus. We need to communicate that convincingly.”

Prof. Dr. Werner Solbach, Microbiology and Infection Medicine, Member of the Working Group Infection Research and Society

Members of the Working Group

Position Name Discipline
Prof. Dr. Cornelius Borck History of Medicine and of Science
Prof. Dr. Barbara M. Bröker Immunology
Dr. Anne Dienelt Legal Studies / Public Law / International Law
Prof. Dr. Thomas Dobner Virology
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Fleischer Immunology and Tropical Medicine
Prof. Dr. Michael Hecker Microbiology
Prof. Dr. Dirk Heinz Molecular Structural Biology
Spokesperson Prof. Dr. Ansgar W. Lohse Internal Medicine
Prof. Dr. Chris Meier Organic Chemistry
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Thomas Mettenleiter Virology
Prof. Dr. Stefan Rose-John Biochemistry
Prof. Dr. Werner Solbach Medical Microbiology, Virology and Infectious Medicine
Prof. Dr. Peter Zabel Internal Medicine/Pneumology
Select Publications
Conference Volume:

Infektionen und Gesellschaft. COVID-19, frühere und zukünftige Herausforderungen durch Pandemien [Infections and society. COVID-19, past and future challenges from pandemics] Ed. Ansgar W. Lohse
Publisher: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, July 2021
ISBN 978-3-662-63508-7 - Hardback 49.99 €
ISBN 978-3-662-63509-4 - eBook, free as Open Access at
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-63509-4

Funded through grants by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

Discussion paper

Impfen: dringender Handlungsbedarf, großer Forschungsbedarf [“Vaccination: Urgent need for action, great need for research”]
July 2020

Position paper

Antibiotika-Forschung: Probleme und Perspektiven [“Antibiotics research: Problems and perspectives”]
January 2013

Impressions from the symposium “Infections and Society” on 30 October 2020