Global Viral and Bacterial Infections

Global Viral and Bacterial Infections

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Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, and can be transmitted directly or indirectly from one person to another. Despite medical advances, viral and bacterial infectious diseases remain one of the leading causes of death worldwide.

The Viral and Bacterial Infections programme at ISGlobal comprises 15 research groups working on a wide range of viral and bacterial pathogens and encompasses a large, multidisciplinary and translational research portfolio ranging from basic science to clinical, epidemiological and public health-oriented research. Our main objective is to reduce the burden of major viral and bacterial diseases by providing society with new tools for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Specific Goals

  • To enhance knowledge of the pathophysiology and molecular biology of pathogens.
  • To design and develop new tools for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of major viral and bacterial infections.
  • To understand the immune response and the role of the microbiota against these infections.
  • To conduct implementation science to develop and assess strategies for the delivery of proven effective interventions.

The programme, through the research groups involved, has a strong international presence by belonging to important networks such as B2B2B AMRx, by organising and participating in international seminars, conferences and workshops, and by coordinating and/or participating as partners in relevant projects funded by international agencies such as Horizon Europe (e.g. EChiLiBRiST), NIH, EDCTP (e.g. EXULTANT, Stool4TB), Bill and Belinda Gates (ICARIA), ANTICOV projects.

In addition, most of the programme's PIs collaborate with other ISGlobal programmes to develop projects and ideas, including those that do not have a second affiliation.

Main Lines of Research

The programme spans a range of disciplines that are crucial to advancing our understanding of and response to viral and bacterial infectious diseases. In molecular biology and pathophysiology, we study the intricate ways in which different pathogenic micro-organisms infect our bodies, causing disease, and seek potential targets to develop new drugs. In addition, our work in immunology and microbiome research is unravelling the interactions between the immune response and the gut microbiota, shedding light on how they influence the pathogenesis and virulence of viruses and bacteria. This knowledge is fundamental to understanding natural protection from or susceptibility to infection and disease.

Furthermore, drug discovery efforts include the exploration of molecules from both natural and synthetic sources, including small molecules and peptides, while identifying potential targets for novel drug candidates. Through molecular and clinical epidemiology studies, we investigate disease patterns, their causes and impact on populations, and the association between exposures or treatments and health outcomes. This knowledge is the basis for informing strategies to reduce the burden of infection in vulnerable populations and developing clinical practice guidelines.

Our expertise extends to the design, development and validation of diagnostic and screening tools. Our staff are involved in different steps of the value chain, from biomarker discovery to field validation and impact assessment. The programme also plays a key role in the development of treatment and prevention tools. We actively participate in vaccine and drug clinical trials in Europe, Africa and Latin America, depending on the epidemiology of the pathogen and the needs of the population.

Finally, the programme's focus on monitoring and evaluation, implementation science and public health enables us to develop and assess effective strategies for delivering proven interventions.

Research Groups

  • Antimicrobial resistance (Jordi Vila, Sara M. Soto and Ignasi Roca)
  • Bacterial infections (Jordi Vila, Sara M. Soto and Quique Bassat)
  • Health and economic impact assessment (Davide Rasella and Elisa Sicuri)
  • Health systems, viral hepatitis, HIV and COVID-19 (Jeffrey Lazzarus)
  • HIV (Denise Naniche)
  • Immunology (Carlota Dobaño and Gemma Moncunill)
  • Maternal and children’s infections (Clara Menéndez and Azucena Bardají)
  • Migrant Health (Ana Requena)
  • Mycobacteria (Julià González and Griselda Tudó - Hospital Clinic Group)
  • Tropical diseases (Jose Muñoz and Claudio Parolo)
  • Tuberculosis (Alberto García-Basteiro)
  • Viral infections (Mike Martínez and M. Angeles Marcos)

Our Team


  • Sara Soto González
    Sara Soto González Associate Research Professor and Head of the Viral and Bacterial Infections Programme at ISGlobal.

Principal lnvestigators of the Programme


Highlighted Projects


Combatting Bacterial Resistance in Europe - Carbapenem Resistance

Hepatitis C Free Baleares

Eliminating hepatitis C on the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza): a study in governmental and non-governmental addiction service centres, a mobile methadone unit and a prison to test and link people who use drugs to HCV care.


Combating Bacterial Resistance In Europe


Digital Twins Enabled Indoor Air Quality Management for Healthy Living

END-VOC project logo


ENDing COVID-19 Variants Of concern through Cohort studies (END-VOC)


Development of Novel Gastrointestinal Biomarkers for Use in HIV Incidence Determination in a Sub-Saharan African Setting


Integrating and decentralizing diabetes and hypertension services in Africa

ICARIA project logo


Improving Care through Azithromycin Research for Infants in Africa


Large Clinical Trial in Africa on the Treatment of Mild Cases of COVID-19

Stool4TB logo


Evaluating a new stool based qPCR for diagnosis of tuberculosis in children and people living with HIV

Other projects

See Past Projects


Building Scalable Pathogen Genomic Epidemiology in Ethiopia


Reconnecting Transmission to Global Tuberculosis Control by Mapping Pathogen Transmission Events to Host Infection Status


Predicting the Future: Incipient Tuberculosis


Community knowledge generation through scientific culture, urban ecology and art


Nuevas moléculas de oro coordinadas con flavonoides contra bacterias patógenas multirresistentes prioritarias