As the Coronavirus pandemic dramatically shows, infections can have severe consequences worldwide. The Leibniz Research Alliance "Infections '21" was founded in 2015 with the goal of studying ways to better control, prevent and fight infectious illnesses and has swiftly adapted to the Covid-19-related challenges. The GIGA is a founding member of this alliance and deals with the access to medicines and vaccines as well as health as a global public good.
Leibniz Association, 2015-2021
Infectious diseases can be spread and transferred to humans in many ways. A holistic approach is required to better understand transmission and to achieve optimal infection control strategies. Biomedical, ecological, socio-economic and political aspects all need to be considered. "Infections '21" consists of fifteen Leibniz institutes with different backgrounds. It is coordinated by the Research Center Borstel.
The aim of the "Infections '21" Leibniz Research Alliance is to establish a culture of interdisciplinary research and communication across disciplines, thereby developing new strategies and methods for early warning systems, including with public participation, improved outbreak management and optimized containment of the spread of pathogens. In order to achieve these goals, exemplary research projects are continuously identified, which are processed by the pooled expertise of the participating Leibniz Institutes and selected, external partners.
Research of the first funding phase has confirmed the link between attention to the threat of infectious diseases due to outbreaks of diseases and political reactions and political commitment in some cases. This was shown for Ebola (West-African crisis and the reaction of the international community), and Tuberculosis (migration and the again growing incidence of Tuberculosis in Western Europe). On the contrary, outbreaks of legionellosis produced a rather short-lived attention which appears to be not sufficient for attaining effective political regulations.