Improved hygiene, prophylactic vaccinations and the excellent healthcare available in Germany seem to have reduced the threat of a number of infections. All the same, biological pathogens and hazardous substances remain a potential threat to civil society. Research projects funded under the “Civil security – Protection against biological hazards and pandemics” call for proposals develop organisational and technical solutions that help prevent biological hazards and critical transregional infections such as pandemics and support end users’ responses to incidents.
Ongoing joint projects:
AquaNANO: Nano-probe based analysis system for fast on-site identification of drinking water contamination
Funding codes 13N13711 to 13N13713
Even though the German monitoring system for drinking water quality is one of the best in the world, contamination with pathogenic germs is still possible. This can happen, for example, in the aftermath of flooding or earthquakes. Currently, a laboratory is necessary in order to inspect water quality, which is why the AquaNano project is developing a portable measuring device to detect contaminated water within a matter of minutes. The results of this project will thus help ensure safe, pathogen-free drinking water in Germany.
More information (only available in German)
DetektiVir: Adaptive Diagnostics for the De-Novo-Detection of Viral Pathogens for Preventing Epidemics
Funding codes 13N13783 to 13N13785
New diseases are constantly evolving and our immune systems are not yet equipped to cope with them. In our globalised world, these diseases can spread very quickly. The DetektiVir research project is developing a system to simplify the process of finding new viruses by means of a perfectly coordinated workflow from the sampling stage right through to the application of the test results. By so doing, the project will help speed up the process of initiating measures to tackle new pathogens as well as helping to curb their spread.
DetektiVir project outline (only available in German)
Ess-B.A.R.: Food safety and resilience of food supply chains in biohazard situations
Funding codes 13N13982 to 13N13987
Infectious diseases are increasingly a threat to human health. Zoonotic pathogens, which can be transmitted from infected animals to humans, are a particular problem. They pose a high risk of transregional outbreaks of disease since the pathogens are often spread through contaminated food. The aim of the project is to develop new methods for early detection of zoonotic contamination in foodstuffs and thus to stem the spread of disease.
More information (only available in German)
LegioTyper: Detection system for rapid risk assessment in cases of legionella exposure
Funding codes 13N13698 to 13N13701
Cases of shower facilities being closed down due to legionella are often reported in the press. They are triggered by a bacterium that particularly likes to spread in heated water. Once inhaled, it can cause severe pneumonia. It is therefore important that the exact source be found as quickly as possible. This means establishing whether detected bacteria actually do come from the source in question. The LegioTyper project aims to develop a new test method to speed up the process of determining the origin of pathogens so that people can shower in safety.
LegioTyper project outline (only available in German)
PanPlex: Rapid multiplex-based point-of-care detection of potentially pathogenic agents
Funding codes 13N13845 and 13N13846
Diseases such as swine flu (virus H1N1) can spread rapidly across entire countries and continents. To prevent these pandemics, the pathogen present in the patients has to be detected quickly. To achieve this goal, the PanPlex project partners are working on an automated diagnostic platform to detect various influenza viruses and coronaviruses. The intention is that the system will be able to identify several types of virus in one sample. It is also to be expanded in the future so that it can indicate antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens too. It will therefore be able to help stem the spread of highly contagious and resistant pathogens.
PanPlex project outline (only available in German)
PHOIBE: Laser optical detection of pathogens and toxins for the protection of drinking water from biological hazards and pandemics
Funding codes 13N13722 to 13N13724
Germany has strict quality standards for tap water. Stringent monitoring ensures safe drinking water. The research partners on the PHOIBE project are working to ensure that contamination with toxins or pathogens can be detected ever more rapidly in future – before they can put human lives at risk. The idea is to develop a measuring cell that uses lasers to monitor the quality of the water. This will make time-consuming laboratory tests a thing of the past and provide a system that is suitable for large-scale use.
PHOIBE project outline (only available in German)
SensTox: Sensor-based and automated detection of high and low molecular weight biological toxins
Funding codes 13N13791 to 13N13795
Due to their multiple toxic effects, biological toxins pose a serious risk to human health. The aim of the SensTox project is to devise innovative solutions for rapid and sensitive detection of high and low molecular weight toxins in clinical and environmental samples. The team is developing a transportable, automated biosensor system that can detect high and low molecular weight toxins simultaneously. As well as applications in bioterrorism scenarios, it will also be possible to use this detection system in modified form for human and veterinary medicine.
SensTox project outline (only available in German)