Press release of 11.11.2021
Fight every droplet
HZDR team develops new drugs against viral infections
Prof. Michael Bachmann and his team from the Institute of Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) will receive a total of 350,000 euros over the next three years for their research project “Viroprotect: Inhalation Drug Against Infection”. It is one of four projects funded through the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation’s competition “Ideas to fight droplets”, as the foundation announced at a press conference today (November 11th, 2021).
Every day brings a new reminder that the Covid pandemic is not over yet. Therefore, science is looking beyond vaccinations to find other ways to fight the virus. “In addition to developing additional vaccines, we also need new drugs to contain infections and thus the spread of the virus, to prevent severe disease progressions, and to enable therapy,” says Michael Bachmann, explaining his motivation for the new research project.
In search of new drugs
The aim is to develop and test novel inhalation drugs that enable both passive and active immune protection without a vaccination. Bachmann believes that inhalation drugs could prevent droplet infections. “Since droplet infections travel through the lungs, it seems logical to deliver drugs directly to the vulnerable lung cells by way of inhalation.” The hope is that if an infection does occur, the inhalation drug will decisively reduce the viral load. If successful, this kind of drug would do more than help prevent and treat Covid. The planned new therapeutic approach could also be applied to, and thus be relevant for, the treatment of other aerosol-based droplet infections, such as influenza, herpes (chickenpox), measles, and rubella.
Bachmann’s team are not the only ones delighted about the project grant. Prof. Sebastian M. Schmidt, Scientific Director of HZDR, also considers the grant a confirmation of the center’s strategy: “The success of Prof. Bachmann and his team once again proves that HZDR has its finger on the pulse of research and can respond rapidly to current practical issues and develop scientific solutions.”
“Ideas to fight droplets”
In 2021, EKFS announced a competition endowed with a total of one million euros to stimulate and promote the development of new ways to protect against droplet infections. The foundation selected four projects from a total of 52 submissions. The winning projects address improved mask materials, detecting and inactivating airborne viruses, screening infected people, and developing drugs to prevent droplet infections.
Editor: Kim-Astrid Magister
Prof. Michael Bachmann
Institute of Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research at HZDR
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Simon Schmitt | Head of Department, Press Officer
Communications and Media at HZDR
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