Medical professionals and basic researchers at the Twincore Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research are now working very closely together. Their objective is to gain a deeper understanding of infections in order to find better ways to combat them. The researchers are focusing on viral infections as well as developing molecular diagnostic tests for detecting pathogenic bacteria and investigating processes in the human immune system. For example, virologist Professor Thomas Pietschmann and his team are looking at factors that make children more susceptible to the RSV virus. They are planning to use their findings to develop a rapid test.
The response to the coronavirus pandemic has also initiated several new research projects, which are focusing on questions such as: How does SARS-CoV-2 enter human cells? Can medications that are already available prevent the infection or slow down the progress of Covid-19? Does the body produce antibodies against the pathogen? A number of groups of scientists at Twincore are working feverishly to find answers to these questions.
"How to protect yourself against viruses"
It is almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with viruses during the winter. Sick people spread germs on door handles, sinks and coffee machines. If you want to remain healthy, the most important tip you should follow is therefore: Wash your hands regularly – and thoroughly. Experts advise scrubbing hands with soap under running water for at least 30 seconds.
- Coughing and sneeze in the right way
Even though you might mean well, when you put your hand in front of your mouth when you cough it doesn’t really achieve its intended purpose. This is because when you cough when you have a cold, you actually catapult an entire colony of viruses out of your body which then stick to your hands. This is how the germs spread all around the room. The better option is to cough into a handkerchief. In Asian countries, it is customary to wear a face mask when you have a cold. If you haven’t a handkerchief to hand, the next best thing is to cough into the crook of your arm.
Admittedly, the only thing you really want to do when you have a cold is jump straight into bed with a hot water bottle. However, it is very important to air the room as often as possible. This is not just because the viruses quickly proliferate in the air, it is also because the mucous membranes dry out when you are in a centrally heated building environment. If you ventilate the room three to four times a day, you will prevent sore throats from developing and will become well again faster.
Viruses primarily spread over items that are used by multiple people. It is therefore a good idea to wipe door handles, telephone receivers and keyboards every now and again. Special disinfectant sprays which can be sprayed over different surfaces are useful aids. Important: make sure you take note of the recommended exposure time! Otherwise you might find that the viruses survive despite use of the spray.
- strengthen your immune system
Colds weaken the immune system. To accelerate the healing process, you should make sure you eat a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables! They contain vitamins A, C and E which strengthen the immune system. Targeted doses of zinc can also help to protect you from germs.