Many important pathogens in man have their normal ecological niche in humans where healthy carriage dominates over disease. The ability of these commensal pathogens to cause disease depends on several microbial factors as well as on genetic and environmental factors in the human host. The interplay between infectious agents affects in carriage and disease impacts on the clearing capacity mediated by the innate and adaptive immune system.
This delicate relationship between the microbe and host modulates not only the likelihood for a commensal pathogen to cause disease, but also disease type and disease severity. We have focused upon pediatric malaria infection, relapsing fever and invasive pneumococcal disease.
We aim to understand how multiple infections affect carriage and disease progression. We have developed several murine co-infection models in order to emulate the relationships in a controllable environment. The ulterior goal is to improve the management of the respective diseases and understand the immunological drivers of the acute phase response.