A comprehensive review on the filarial pathogen Loa loa was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases. This paper summarizes our current understanding of this extremely neglected tropical disease, updates our knowledge on its epidemiology, and proposes a new management algorithm. Loa loa is one of our main research focusses in collaboration with the CERMEL in Gabon.
On September 20th and 21st, 2023, the Site Initiation Visit of the clinical study CORMA-BIL took place at Cermel in Lambarene, Gabon. CORMA-BIL is the second study of the CORMA project, funded by DZIF, and focuses on the effectiveness and safety of Pyronaridin/Artesunate and Pyronaridin/Artesunate/Praziquantel for the treatment of uncomplicated Schistosoma haematobium infections in Gabonese adolescents and children.
Parliamentary Breakfast of the PDP Coalition in the German Bundestag
MMV (medicines for malaria venture) invited Dr Mirjam Groger to report at a Parliamentary Breakfast on 07 July about the potential of cooperation between academic research institutions. The event was organised by DNDi (Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative) under the patronage of Prof. Dr Andrew Ullman MdB (Chair of the Subcommittee on Global Health). As an example, she presented the cooperation of the BNITM with various Product Development Partnerships (PDP). The BMBF (Ministry of Education and Research) is again funding five PDPs that do research and development (R&D) for poverty-associated neglected diseases in international cooperations. For this purpose, the BMBF is providing up to 50 million euros over a period of five years via KfW.
Dr Johannes Mischlinger and Charlotte Kriebel were awarded with prizes at KIT2023!
The Congress on Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine took place in Leipzig from 14-17 June 2023 and our department was very well represented with poster presentations (Jochum, Kriebel, Omansen), lectures (Jordan, Ramharter) and interested congress attendees.
The German Society for Tropical Medicine, Travel Medicine and Global Health (DTG) honoured Johannes Mischlinger with the Prize for Tropical Medicine 2023 for his work on "Optimising the Management of Tropical Diseases on the Individual and the Population Level". His focus here is on improving the diagnostics and management of malaria and loiasis infections.
Charlotte Kriebel received a poster award from the DTG for her poster presentation "Psychiatric sequelae and psycho-social impact of Lassa fever in survivors in Edo State, Nigeria".
Excellent achievement! We congratulate you on your success.
Dr Simone Wolff now joins the BNCCT team. We look forward to working with her and wish her an excellent start.
The Lab group Groger welcomes a new project manager for the ASAAP and Lassa projects, Dr Michael Wille. We wish him a good start and look forward to working with him.
Launch of the eWHORM project to eliminate worm infections in Sub Saharan Africa
African and European project partners are working together to implement the World Health Organization's (WHO) "Roadmap for Neglected Tropical Diseases" (NTDs) and reduce the disease burden associated with worm infections.
The role of Clinical Research at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) within this network is to conduct the clinical trials on loiasis together with CERMEL in Gabon and the eWHORM consortium.
World Health Organization (WHO) meeting in Geneva
Together with more than 600 other participants, our colleagues Ruth Ansah and Mirjam Groger are attending the first global meeting on skin-related neglected tropical diseases (skin NTDs). WHO is hosting the meeting to support networking among experts working in the field of Skin NTDs. Other objectives of the meeting are to share progress and challenges in implementing integrated activities on skin NTDs at country level, to present the results of research on skin NTDs as well as to plan the implementation of an NTD framework.
Mirjam Groger is awarded the Wolfgang Stille Science Prize 2022
The Paul Ehrlich Society for Infection Therapy (PEG) awards the Wolfgang Stille Science Prize 2022 to our colleague Mirjam Groger for her excellent research work on the therapy of Lassa fever. Congratulations!
21st International Leprosy Congress 2022
From 08-11 November, Mirjam Groger attended the ILC 2022 in Hyderabad, India.
The conference provides a platform for international experts to exchange their knowledge and discuss the latest developments in the field of leprosy. Our colleague Dr Groger used the visit to make new contacts and discuss research strategies with the head of the national leprosy control programme in Ghana.
ASTMH Annual Meeting in Seattle
Johannes Mischlinger and Dorothea Ekoka Mbassi represented our department at this year's ASTMH meeting, which took place from 30.10.-03.11.2022 in Seattle. As congress visitors, they also presented the research activities of our department and met with colleagues from CERMEL as well as cooperation partners from Spain and Mozambique.
20th International Congress of Tropical Medicine and Malaria in Thailand
After a COVID-19 related break, the ICTMM2020 was held in Bangkok from 24-28 October 2022. As invited speaker and co-chair of the symposium "Post-registration studies in antimalarial drug development", Dr Groger presented the results of the CANTAM-Pyramax study.
Kick-off of the ASAAP study in Benin
From 18-21 October 2022, the initiation of the ASAAP project took place at the IRCB (Institut de Recherche Clinique du Bénin). Dr Groger was on site as a representative of the international clinical study coordination. In addition to the site initiation visit, representatives of authorities and communities were invited for discussion and prepared for the start of the clinical trial in Benin.
LoloMox: Kick-off-Meeting 27-28 September 2022
LoloMox, funded by DZIF, is the first clinical trial evaluating the safety of Moxidectin 8mg in loiasis patients. The LoloMox Kick-off meeting was held in Gabon at Lambarene and at Sindara from 27th to 28th September 2022. Members of the study team (UKB, IRD, CERMEL and BNITM) attended in person or online for this hybrid meeting. During this kick-off meeting we visited the new research facility in Sindara (ISSA) and observed the tremendous progress at the site.
The department is very pleased to welcome five new collegues joining our group:
- Ruth Ansah (Scientific Researcher in the Groger laboratory group)
- Marabelle Assandoh (Doctoral Student)
- Solveigh Jansson (Student Assistant)
- Charlotte Kriebel (Project Manager in the Leibniz Junior Research Group Omansen)
- Colette Sih (Project Manager in the Leibniz Junior Research Group Omansen)
We are happy about the new colleagues and wish them a good start!
Our department was honoured with the BNITM Research Highlight in Q2!
The paper Effectiveness of pyronaridine-artesunate against Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale spp, and mixed-Plasmodium infections: a post-hoc analysis of the CANTAM-Pyramax trial, published in The Lancet Microbe, with Mirjam Groger as first author, has been selected by the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine as its internal Research Highlight in Q2 2022. Congratulations to all colleagues involved!
DTG Poster Prize for Hannah Müller
Our department was represented at the Conference on Tropical Medicine and Global Health in Rostock from June 23-25, 2022, with numerous colleagues and various presentations, posters, and talks to introduce our activities to a broader audience.
We are delighted that Hannah Müller from the Leibniz Junior Research Group led by Till Omansen was awarded one of the five poster prizes by the DTG. Her study on Electroencephalography (EEG) in Lassa fever patients was recognized, in which Ms. Müller found a high rate of abnormalities for a viral encephalitis.
DZIF TTU Malaria & NTD Meeting at BNITM in Hamburg
From 21 to 22 April, members of the group met and presented their project activities in the African partner countries and partner institutions
While Friday was dedicated to specific projects and studies on malaria, the development of a schistosomiasis test, filariasis biomarkers, helminths and concomitant infections, Lolomox and new drugs against filaria, the focus on Saturday was on the presentation of structural topics.
There were insights into a platform for clinical trials, clinical research groups at CERMEL in Lambaréné/Gabon and the KCCR in Kumasi/Ghana were presented and mathematical modelling as well as the development of African partner sites were outlined.
In addition, the participants were given an overview of the history of TTU and the recommendations of an internal audit.
The - for all participants interesting - meeting was rounded off with a discussion on strategies for the future development of the TTU.
Site visit by Dr. Mirjam Groger to the study sites of the SAFARI study
The SAFARI drug trial is being conducted at ISTH and at FMCO, in close collaboration with INSERM/ALIMA, with the aim of improving treatment options for Lassa fever in endemic regions. This project contributes to capacity building for rapid containment of Lassa fever outbreaks and development of medical countermeasures in Nigeria, and is supported by the Global Health Protection Programme of the German Federal Ministry of Health.
Site initiation visit for CORMA-MAL
On 17 March, the site initiation visit for the CORMA-MAL clinical trial took place. For this, the two Hamburg team members Lidwine Badjina and Dr. Johannes Mischlinger met with colleagues from the project at CERMEL in Lambaréné. CORMA-MAL is the first study of the CORMA project, which is funded by the DZIF. The study is about the efficacy and safety of praziquantel for the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum infection in asymptomatic Gabonese adults.
Site visit in Benin for the main study of the ASAAP project
Our project managers Veronika Schlicker and Christine Wagner visited the research centre (Institut de Recherche Clinique du Bénin) in Cotonou and the associated study centres in Dodji Bata and Sekou. In December, Mali will be the first of four countries to start the main study, followed by Benin.
Site assessment in Mali for the main study of the ASAAP project
Department members Dr Mirjam Groger and Christine Wagner visited the Faladie study centre near Bamako before the start of the main study of the ASAAP project. The study centre in Mali is one of the four centres involved in the ASAAP study. Other study sites are located in Ghana, Gabon and Benin. The project will be initiated in Mali.
POCUS training in Malawi
Our colleagues Dr Benno Kreuels and Matin Kohsar are teaching clinicians from various medical disciplines point-of-care ultrasound (focussed clinical ultrasound) in two courses at the Queen Elisabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. Contents include the FAST protocol, lung ultrasound and protocols specifically developed for resource-limited settings such as FASH (focussed assessment with sonography for EPTB in HIV positive patients) and CURLS (cardiac ultrasound in resource limited settings).
For the first time, the course was supported by previous e-learning using a Moodle-based app developed specifically for this course. Before the three-and-a-half-day training sessions all participants learned the theoretical basics with the help of interactive videos. After the course the participants will upload a fixed number of newly learned scans from their daily clinical routine for assessment by the lecturers via the Moodle platform. In this way, ultrasound skills will be consolidated.
LoLoPatSe project members meet at CERMEL in Lambaréné/Gabon from 19-29 October for an entomology workshop
Dr Albert Eisenbarth from the Department of Tropical Medicine at the German Federal Armed Forces Hospital in Hamburg instructs the participants in theory and practice in order to establish a vector surveillance system in Sindara and Lambaréné. In addition to the theoretical basics, the workshop also includes field work to identify and collect the desired vectors. These will later be sequenced in the laboratory.
The vector surveillance system will be used to detect endemic vector-borne diseases in seasonal vector populations.
The aim is to enable the project members to assess and compare the composition and dynamics of arthropod population densities and vector infection rates of the dipteran families Culicidae (mosquitoes), Tabanidae (horseflies), Glossinidae (tsetse), Simuliidae (black flies), Ceratopogonidae (mosquitoes) and Phlebotominae (sand flies), the insect orders Coleoptera (beetles), Siphonaptera (fleas) and Pthiraptera (lice) as well as the acarid orders Ixodidae (hard ticks) and Argasidae (soft ticks).
LoLoPatSe: Women Empowerment Workshop from 18-22.10.2021
With the guidance of three trainers from "Scienza - Science Coaching Enke Zimmermann" our female colleagues are intensively studying the basics of professional communication and how to empower voice and body. They also receive expert knowledge on "Networking: Building a Supporting Community in Science". In addition, self-care & resilience techniques are taught and the colleagues work on the topic of leadership skills for women.The contents are intensified and discussed in group work, role plays and presentations.
Kick-off meeting for the LoLoPatSE project
From 30.09.-01.10.2021 the project participants of the LoLoPatSe project (Pathogen Determinants of Disease and the Socio-Economic Impact of Loiasis) met at BNITM to define the schedule and implementation of the project. The aim of LoLoPatSe is to study the parasite biology and disease of the population in endemic areas (by calculating Disability-Adjusted-Life-Years). The project particularly encourages the empowerment of women in science through training, coaching and mentoring programmes.
Article on the project "Maternal and child health: active in rural areas of Gabon"
The project is supported by GIZ's global funding programme Hospital Partnerships. Our colleague Saskia Dede Davi is the project coordinator and our colleague Prof. Ghyslain Mombo-Ngoma is the project manager. You can find a detailed report on the project here.
Professor appointment for our colleague Ghyslain Mombo-Ngoma
Ghyslain Mombo-Ngoma has been appointed by the UKE and BNITM as Professor of "Clinical development and implementation of drugs for poverty related infectious diseases". Prof. Mombo-Ngoma is Head of the Clinical Research Department at CERMEL in Lambaréné, Gabon. He will continue his research from there. His research group will be affiliated to the Department of Implementation Research, which is currently being established. We congratulate him and wish him every success in his work!
The German Society for Tropical Medicine, Travel Medicine and Global Health e.V. (DTG) awards this year's Prize for Tropical Medicine to Dr. Benno Kreuels
The Award for Tropical Medicine 2021 was given to two young scientists on 17 June 2021 at the Virtual Congress for Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases (KIT2021), which is also the annual meeting of the DTG.
Our colleague Dr Kreuels received the award for his clinical research in tropical medicine.
He is senior physician of our section as well as the director of clinical training at the BNI. In addition to his clinical work, he has carried out a large number of projects on infectious diseases in Africa and has published his study results in respected scientific journals.
The main focus of Mr Kreuels' clinical as well as scientific work is the epidemiology of malaria in Africa and the influence of malaria on child development. He has also worked intensively on Ebola, which made an important contribution to the treatment and isolation of patients during the 2014 epidemic in Western Africa.
Benno Kreuels' research on the use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) helps to considerably reduce the time to diagnosis and thus the length of hospital stay.
We congratulate our colleague and are pleased about his award!
Diploma Course in Tropical Medicine, this year as a online webinar
After weeks of intensive preparation, the first web-based Diploma Course in Tropical Medicine was launched at the end of March.
Under the direction of Dr Benno Kreuels, 45 medical doctors receive further training in tropical medicine from more than 120 internal and external lecturers.
Mr Kreuels and his team are pleased to finally be in live operation.
Dr. Luzia Veletzky awarded the Dr. Martini Prize 2021
Once again, a physician-scientist of our department convinced the Board of Trustees of the Dr. Martini Foundation with the results of her research.
Loiasis is a common helminth infection in several regions of sub-Saharan Africa. Clinically, little importance has been attached to the disease.
The cross-sectional survey initiated by Dr. Veletzky aimed to prospectively quantify the burden of disease caused by loiasis in an endemic region of Gabon using disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). The result of the study shows that significantly more attention should be paid to the disease or its control.
Dr. Veletzky and her research team are committed to intensifying research as well as control of Loiasis, which has not yet been categorized as a neglected tropical disease by the WHO.
The Dr. Martini Prize is awarded annually to medical doctors working in hospitals in Hamburg for the best work in clinical research. The prize was established to encourage the next generation of scientists and is the oldest medical prize in Germany.
Congratulations to our award winner!
Our colleague Dr. Till Omansen establishes a new Junior Research Group
The Leibniz funding program supports the establishment of an independent Junior Research Group at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM).
We are very pleased that Dr. Till Omansen convinced the Senate of the Leibniz Association of his research work and receives the funding.
The funded project is about the investigation of the pathophysiology of Lassa fever. The new transnational group will be located in both the Clinical Research Department and the Virology Department of BNITM.
Congratulations and we wish good success!
The Namibian Ministry of Health invited a delegation led by the Robert Koch Institute to Namibia for a two-week mission to support the fight against COVID-19. The delegation consisted of experts from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and an Emergency Medical Team (EMT) with members of the aid organisations I.S.A.R Germany, humedica and CADUS. The EMT was supported by a medical doctor from the Bernhard Nocht Institute (Dr. Tamara Nordmann). Dr. Nordmann is a member of the department of clinical research.
"The experts provide urgently needed expertise and training in laboratory diagnostics, infection prevention and control and share their knowledge in the clinical care of serious COVID-19 diseases," the statement said. According to Ben Nangombe, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Health, the delegation's mission would help Namibia to discuss the successes and lessons learned so far and to be better prepared for the future.
ASAAP Pilot Trial Begins
On October 26, 2020, ASAAP recruited its first study participant being an adult patient diagnosed with uncomplicated malaria at the Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL) in Lambaréné in Gabon.
This recruitment marks the initiation of the pilot study, which results will inform the final stages of implementing the multi-country trial. ASAAP is a 4-year clinical trial research to evaluate the efficacy, safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of a new antimalarial drug combination, with particular focus on its successful application in one of the largest and most vulnerable demographics of Africa - children.
The ASAAP first study aims at evaluating the safety and tolerability and pharmaokinetics of an Artemisinin based triple therapy by combining artemether + lumefantrine and atovaquone-proguanil. This pilot study will help detect any potential or unforeseen safety and tolerability issues with the trial drug combination in a limited number of adolescents/adults, thereby mitigating the inherent risk of biomedical research among children.
The ASAAP Pilot study is registered at the ISCRTN (ISCRTN61526229) and the PACTR (PACTR202010540737215) trial registries. A successful pilot study will provide clearance for an age step-down decision for the main clinical trial in young African children aged 0-5 years.
TROPICSAFE is going live! Starting at the end of October, the freely accessible online teaching platform will be available, where participants can learn the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the proper and safe transfer of patients with infectious diseases.
This project was developed by experts from various fields. They all know the sector in their countries and represent the interests of workers, health professionals and trainers. A homogeneous training protocol has been elaborated for a proper and safe transfer of patients with infectious diseases. The target groups of the training are paramedics, ambulance drivers, private companies, professional associations in medical transport, trainers, public and private training centers and health professionals.
TROPICSAFE was co-financed by the EU's ERASMUS+ program over 24 months and developed by five European institutions under the leadership of BNITM.
Further information and access to the pilot version of the training in four different languages (German, English, Spanish and Latvian) can be found here.
The Association of Friends of the Tropical Institute Hamburg e.V. (VdF) awards this year's doctoral prizes
At the general meeting of the VdF our colleague Dr. Johannes Mischlinger was awarded the doctoral prize for medicine. Instead of the usual two, three prizes were awarded this year because the quality of all three dissertations did not allow the jury to come to any other decision.
The laureate received the € 1,000 prize for his study on optimizing the microscopic diagnosis of malaria and loiasis.
The two prizes in the field of natural science went to the members of the Spielmann group, Dr. Ernst Jonscher and Dr. Melissa Kosh-Naucke
The research results resp. the publication of Dr. Mirjam Groger "Prospective Clinical and Molecular Evaluation of Potential Plasmodium ovale curtisi and wallikeri Relapses in a High-transmission Setting" (Nov. 2019 in Clin. Infect. Dis.) is indicated in the DZIF Annual Report 2019 as one of the two highlight topics in the research field Malaria. Read the interview with Ms. Groger here
On June 6th 2020 a publication on "Burden of disease in Gabon caused by loiasis: as cross-sectional survey" was published with the participation of our department in Lancet Infectious Diseases. The study was financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and the European Union.
Our department is carrying out another study on COVID-19 in cooperation with the University Hospital Tübingen and the UKE: Hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of mild
coronavirus disease 2019 – COVID-19
The aim of this placebo-controlled trial is to assess the effect of hydroxychloroquine on duration of symptoms in mild COVID-19 patients and time of virus shedding as an important tool to reduce the risk of further community transmissions. This data will inform practice for the design of larger trials on clinical efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment and post- and pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19 and as a tool for reduction of community transmission.
With the increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Germany, the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf and the University Hospital Tübingen have initiated the following study:
Randomized controlled trial of hydroxychloroquine versus placebo for the treatment of adult patients with acute coronavirus disease 2019 - COVID-19
The aim of this study is to identify an effect of hydroxychloroquine on viral replication in vivo. These data will be used to design larger studies on the clinical efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in treatment and prophylaxis after exposure to COVID-19.
We congratulate our colleague Dr. Till Omansen for winning the DZIF-DGI PhD prize 2019. He received the award for his remarkable research work on the improvement of antimicrobial therapy against the neglected, bacterial infectious disease Buruli ulcer. The award ceremony took place at the annual conference of the German Society for Infectiology (DGI) and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) in Bad Nauheim.
PhD Mirjam Groger receives the PhD Award for Medicine of the Association of Friends of the Tropical Institute Hamburg e.V. (VdF)
Every year, the VdF awards two doctoral prizes for the best dissertation from the BNITM in natural science and medicine. In medicine our colleague Dr. Groger convinced with her thesis on "Pathophysiology and treatment of non-falciparum and falciparum malaria".
The prize was presented to Dr. Groger at the VdF general meeting in the historical lecture hall of the BNITM. Well done!
Francisca Naana Sarpong starts as a Monitor for clinical drug and vaccine studies and moves from warm Ghana to Hamburg. We are happy to have you with us!
Our colleague PD Dr. Silja Bühler convinced the ISTM Research and Awards Committee and was honored with the important ISTM Research Prize 2019 for her project "Concomitant administration of yellow fever vaccine with measles, mumps, rubella vaccine in healthy adults - a multi-center prospective observational study". Our compliments!
Colleagues celebrated the award winner!
We congratulate Dr. Johannes Mischlinger for the Dr. Martini Prize
Dr. Johannes Mischlinger is a scientific and medical colleague of our department and was awarded this year's Dr. Martini Prize along with two other prize winners. This prize is the oldest medical award in the German-speaking area for the promotion of young scientists.
The award winner received the award for his optimization of the microscopic diagnosis of malaria and loiasis.
Malaria is usually diagnosed by blood tests, as the corresponding parasites infect red blood cells. However, it was not clear until now whether capillary blood or venous blood has better diagnostic properties. The former, can be obtained by a small puncture in the skin, similar to a blood sugar test, the latter by puncturing a larger blood vessel, for example in the crook of the arm. In the excellent study with patients from Gabon in Central Africa, it is shown that capillary blood has higher parasite densities, which significantly improves the diagnosis of malaria even with low parasite density. These results are of global significance as they can help to improve both clinical diagnostics and scientific studies and malaria elimination campaigns.
Our doctoral student Dorothea Strassner on her way to Gabon
Dorothea will spend one year in CERMEL, Lambaréné, Gabon, in order to pursue the studies for her doctoral project. The focus of the study is the efficacy and safety of ivermectin for the treatment of Plasmodium infection in asymptomatic Gabonese adults.
Prof. Michael Ramharter is appointed member of the EDCTP Scientific Advisory Board
The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) is an advisory body of independent scientific experts from Europe and Africa. In cooperation with the Secretariat, the SAC develops the strategic framework for EDCTP and advises the General Assembly on technical and scientific issues related to the EDCTP program.
The SAC is not involved in the review of applications submitted to EDCTP calls for proposal.
Our DZIF scholarship holder Saskia Dede Davi is completing her doctorate within the scope of a one-year scientific research activity at our cooperation partner CERMEL in Lambaréné, Gabon.
Ms. Davi is preparing a cross-sectional study on "Co-infections in connection with the human immunodeficiency virus in women during pregnancy in rural Gabon". The project is supervised by Prof. Michael Ramharter, Prof. Marylyn Addo and Dr. Johannes Mischlinger
New Publication: "Validity and reliability of methods to microscopically detect and quantify malaria parasitaemia", Tropical Medicine & International Health.
The Italian online journal Scienza e Farmaci published an article about our publication "Use of Capillary Blood Samples Leads to Higher Parasitemia Estimates and Higher Diagnostic Sensitivity of Microscopic and Molecular Diagnostics of Malaria than Venous Blood Samples" from the Journal of Infectious Diseases
New publication: "Use of Capillary Blood Samples Leads to Higher Parasitemia Estimates and Higher Diagnostic Sensitivity of Microscopic and Molecular Diagnostics of Malaria than Venous Blood Samples", Journal of Infectious Diseases.