Pursuing new avenues in anti-influenza therapy
Prof. Dr. Stephan Ludwig
Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster, Institute of Virology
Date: Wednesday, 6 November 2019, 5:15 pm
Location: Lecture Hall at the Hans Knöll Institute (HKI), Beutenbergstr. 11, 07745 Jena
Host: Prof. Dr. Christina Ehrhardt
Prof. Dr. Stephan Ludwig is the head of the Institute of Virology at the Westfälische Wilhelms-University in Münster. He is an expert in the regulation of pathogen-host interactions with focus on influenza virus-induced signal-transduction pathways and their impact on infection.
Influenza constitutes a major public health problem and is one of the most important causes of respiratory tract diseases, which is responsible for widespread morbidity and mortality every winter. Besides seasonal epidemics influenza A viruses occasionally cause worldwide pandemics. Remarkably, respiratory tract infections represent with 62.9% the most common cause of sepsis. Unfortunately, treatment options are rare, because the commonly used anti-influenza drugs provoke the development of resistant variants. Thus, novel treatment options are required.
A major aim of his work is - via gathering knowledge about the cellular processes which control virus replication - to learn more about viral reproduction strategies and to eventually find new targets for an antiviral intervention on the basis of cellular components. In doing so he pioneered the viral research and supported a paradigm change, not to target the pathogen itself, but virus-supporting cellular factors to reduce the development of resistances. He identified the Raf/MEK/ERK as well as the NF-kappa-B-signalling pathway, among others, as prominent targets for antiviral therapy. Interestingly, chemical substances that are already in clinical use for treatment of other diseases are promising candidates in anti-influenza therapy. Meanwhile some of them are introduced in clinical development against influenza virus infections.