Acute lower respiratory tract infections (mainly pneumococcal pneumonia and influenza) are the main cause of mortality from infectious agents in the whole world, including Europe. Research studies focus on bacterial infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes. The mechanisms responsible for antimicrobial resistance are also studied in two aspects: the acquisition of genes that involve resistance, and the appearance of mutations in the targets of different antibiotics that entail an associated antibiotic resistance. Advances, both in the diagnosis of the microorganisms that cause the pathology, and in the rapid detection of resistance mechanisms using molecular techniques, results in optimum use of antibiotic treatment both from a strictly medical point of view and from an economic point of view, as antibiotics will be more rationally used and therapeutic failure due to resistant strains will be prevented.
Vaccination is one of the most effective interventions carried out in the Public Health system to reduce the impact of infectious diseases. They also study the impact of new vaccines to combat rotavirus, of vaccination with conjugate vaccines in invasive meningococcal disease, and the use of new vaccines, prevention of cervical carcinoma and Chlamydia infection, and in the assessment of established vaccination and monitoring programmes for other emerging diseases.
HIV infection is a frontline problem, both in the developed world and, to an even greater extent, in developing countries. The fundamental areas of interest are the following:
- Antiretroviral treatment: research into the effectiveness, efficiency and other related aspects.
- Co-infection with the hepatitis virus: around 60% of patients in the cohort are infected with HCV and 5% with HBV.