Our programme’s research focuses on major infectious diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. With support from the European-funded Nomorfilm Project, which closed a first cycle in 2020, we discovered several new antibacterial and antibiofilm compounds against multidrug resistant (MDR) bacteria belonging to the ESKAPE group (Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumoniae) (1). New molecules with three different mechanisms of action were identified including cyclic peptides, peptides and gold(III) complexes. We also developed novel methodologies to provide quicker identification of drug-resistant pathogens.
The FIEBRE study including 8,000 patients (more than 2,000 from Mozambique) from multiple sites (Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe y Laos PDR) has been completed. It has been the highest effort to determine the fever syndrome among LMIC. The first results from the CHAMPS project on child mortality surveillance (2) and from the RAPID project on biomarker discovery to differentiate virus/bacteria/malaria (3) have been published.
Three projects on tuberculosis (TB) have been successfully completed in 2020: one on drug combinations against different mycobacteria, another one on evaluating different drug regimens to prevent TB among people living with HIV in Africa (WHIP3TB), and the third one on a novel strategy to find cases among contacts of TB cases (Xpatial-TB). We also developed an innovative approach combining a simple molecular test with the minimally invasive autopsy to determine whether TB was the cause of death (4).
The research group on advanced molecular diagnostics for infectious diseases (AMDID), established this year with funding from the Catalan Agency AGAUR, has been working on advanced HIV disease and urban poverty. We also continued our work on the diagnosis of non-endemic infectious diseases, including Zika virus infections in pregnant women and autochthonous dengue cases in Catalonia (5).
Our Health Systems Research Group launched two major projects aimed at the elimination of viral hepatitis in Spain and published a series of key policy papers on HIV care (6,7), viral hepatitis elimination (8,9) and the COVID-19 response (10,11).