LARS ÖHRMALM TEAM
Infections in immunosuppressed patients
Infections in patients with haematological disorders
Early diagnosis of severe virus infections in immunosuppressed patients has undergone major advances during recent years. Modern molecular techniques have resulted in reduction of morbidity and mortality associated with these infections. Through experimental and clinical studies on human parvovirus B19 infections, we have shown that this common infection can also result in severe morbidity and lethal complications. The clinical course and corresponding immune responses are defined in various patient categories. Clinical protocols and therapeutic interventions have been launched as a result of these studies. The clinical and scientific focus of these studies has also been broadened to include other respiratory tract infections in children and adults. We have here contributed to the knowledge of how to diagnose and initiate early treatment in these cases and which pathogens can be defined as etiological agents of the symptoms. Definition of etiological causes for severe complications in patients can result in better antiviral treatment options and development of not only antiviral compounds but also combination treatments including modern immunomodulatory drugs.
Infections during pregnancy
Parvovirus B19 is a pathogen that can cause severe and lethal fetal infections if the mother is infected during pregnancy. Together with our colleagues in gynecology and pathology we have developed better diagnostic tools and treatment options for these cases. We have also co-founded a national reference center that allows consultancies in urgent and complicated cases of both bacterial and viral infections during pregnancy. The overall information is available for both the public and health professionals in a widely spread and frequently used database that is up-dated monthly with new clinical and scientific information (www.infpreg.se).
Infections in patients with respiratory tract diseases
Despite the use of established viral PCR methods, approximately 30% of all presumed viral respiratory tract infections are not detected with current methods. We have studied respiratory tract infections and how co-infections of virus and bacterial agents interact with the host immune response in the airway mucosa. For these studies our group has included healthy children with acute onset of severe respiratory tract infections, children suffering from asthmatic disorders and healthy control children. The project now aims to improve diagnostics to distinguish viral from bacterial pneumonia and optimize treatment in patients with severe infections. Mass spectrometry-based proteomic analyses are used as a promising method to assess host-microbe interaction in respiratory tract infections. Identifying mucosal biomarkers may provide a rapid, accurate and clinically useful test for early identification of patients with severe viral pneumonia. This is now explored in a number of ongoing clinical studies initiated by us as a result of our clinical activities.