Abstract in English:The Bernhard Nocht Institute (BNI) is a four months younger and much smaller sibling of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. It was founded on 1 October 1900 as an Institut für Schiffs- und Tropenkrankheiten (Institute for Maritime and Tropical Diseases) and was later named after its founder and first director Bernhard Nocht. Today it is the Germany's largest institution for research in tropical medicine. It is a government institution affiliated to the Federal Ministry of Health of Germany and the Department of Health of the State of Hamburg. As the center for research in tropical medicine in Germany the BNI is dedicated to research, training and patient care in the area of human infectious diseases, which are of particular relevance in the tropics. It is the primary mission of the BNI to develop means to the control of these diseases. Secondary missions are to provide expertise for regional and national authorities and to directly and indirectly improve the health care for national and regional citizens in regard to diseases of the tropics.
Abstract in English:The global malaria situation has scarcely improved in the last 100 years, despite major advances in our knowledge of the basic biology, epidemiology and clinical basis of the disease. Effective malaria control, leading to a significant decrease in the morbidity and mortality attributable to malaria, will require a multidisciplinary approach. New tools - drugs, vaccine and insecticides - are needed but there is also much to be gained by better use of existing tools: using drugs in combination in order to slow the development of drug resistance; targeting resources to areas of greatest need; using geographic information systems to map the populations at risk and more sophisticated marketing techniques to distribute bed nets and insecticides. Sustainable malaria control may require the deployment of a highly effective vaccine, but there is much that can be done in the meantime to reduce the burden of disease.
Abstract in English:The Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas (IVIC) is a government-funded multidisciplinary academic institution dedicated to research, development and technology in many areas of knowledge. Biomedical projects and publications comprise about 40% of the total at IVIC. In this article, we present an overview of some selected research and development projects conducted at IVIC which we believe contain new and important aspects related to malaria, ancylostomiasis, dengue fever, leishmaniasis and tuberculosis. Other projects considered of interest in the general area of tropical medicine are briefly described. This article was prepared as a small contribution to honor and commemorate the centenary of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz.
Abstract in English:In the light of emerging and overlooked infectious diseases and widespread drug resistance, diagnostics have become increasingly important in supporting surveillance, disease control and outbreak management programs. In many low-income countries the diagnostic service has been a neglected part of health care, often lacking quantity and quality or even non-existing at all. High-income countries have exploited few of their advanced technical abilities for the much-needed development of low-cost, rapid diagnostic tests to improve the accuracy of diagnosis and accelerate the start of appropriate treatment. As is now also recognized by World Healt Organization, investment in the development of affordable diagnostic tools is urgently needed to further our ability to control a variety of diseases that form a major threat to humanity. The Royal Tropical Institute's Department of Biomedical Research aims to contribute to the health of people living in the tropics. To this end, its multidisciplinary group of experts focuses on the diagnosis of diseases that are major health problems in low-income countries. In partnership we develop, improve and evaluate simple and cheap diagnostic tests, and perform epidemiological studies. Moreover, we advice and support others - especially those in developing countries - in their efforts to diagnose infectious diseases.
Abstract in English:In the celebration of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute centenary, we wanted to stress our concern with the relationship between two of its missions: research and education. What are the educational bases required for science and technology activities on health sciences for the future years? How can scientists collaborate to promote the popularization of academic knowledge and to improve a basic education for citizenship in an ethic and humanistic view? In this article we pointed out to need of commitment, even in the biomedical post-graduation level, of a more integrated philosophy that would be centered on health education, assuming health as a dynamic biological and social equilibrium and emphasizing the need of scientific popularization of science in a cooperative construction way, instead of direct transfer of knowledge, preserving also macro views of health problems in the development of very specific studies. The contemporary explosion of knowledge, particularly biological knowledge, imposes a need of continuous education to face the growing illiteracy. In order to face this challenge, we think that the Oswaldo Cruz Institute honors his dialectic profile of tradition and transformation, always creating new perspectives to disseminate scientific culture in innovated forms.
Abstract in English:During the past, Health Education has been taking place in a variety of ways: prevention, monitoring and control of potentially epidemic diseases. New trends have been arising (such as 'health corners', interdisciplinary activities, exhibit, 'mini-university' for children, etc.). But it is important to discuss what 'Health Education' means, and define 'health' and rethink educational strategies. Several evaluations have highlighted the limited impact that communication activities, or one-off awareness campaigns, may have.
Abstract in English:Immunology has contributed to biomedical education in many important ways since the creation of scientific medicine in the last quarter of the 19th century. Today, immunology is a major area of biomedical research. Nevertheless, there are many basic problems unresolved in immunological activities and phenomena. Solving these problems is probably necessary to devise predictable and safe ways to produce new vaccines, treat allergy and autoimmune diseases and perform safe transplants. This challenge involves not only technical developments but also changes in attitude, of which the most fundamental is to abandon the traditional stimulus-response perspective in favor of more "systemic" views. Describing immunological activities as the operation of a complex multiconnected network, raises biological and epistemological issues not usually dealt with in biomedical education. Here we point to one example of systemic approaches. A new form of immunoblot (Panama blot), by which the reaction of natural immunoglobulins with complex protein mixtures may be analyzed by a special software and multivariate statistics, has been recently used to characterize human autoimmune diseases. Our preliminary data show that Panama blots can also be used to characterize global (systemic) immunogical changes in chronic human parasitic diseases, such as malaria and schistosomiasis mansoni, that correlate with the clinical status.
Abstract in English:This paper presents the main subjects discussed in the round-table: "Educational Base for Biomedical Research", during the International Symposium on Biomedical Research in the 21st century; two main aspects will be focused: (1) the importance of popularizing science in order to stimulate comprehension of the scientific process and progress, their critical thinking, citizenship and social commitment, mainly in the biomedical area, considering the new advances of knowledge and the resulting technology; (2) the importance to stimulate genuine scientific vocation among young people, by giving them opportunity to early experience scientific environment, throught the hands of well prepared master in a humanistic atmosphere.
Abstract in English:The opportunities and challenges for the study and control of parasitic diseases in the 21st century are both exciting and daunting. Based on the contributions from this field over the last part of the 20th century, we should expect new biologic concepts will continue to come from this discipline to enrich the general area of biomedical research. The general nature of such a broad category of infections is difficult to distill, but they often depend on well-orchestrated, complex life cycles and they often involve chronic, relatively well-balanced host/parasite relationships. Such characteristics force biological systems to their limits, and this may be why studies of these diseases have made fundamental contributions to molecular biology, cell biology and immunology. However, if these findings are to continue apace, parasitologists must capitalize on the new findings being generated though genomics, bioinformatics, proteomics, and genetic manipulations of both host and parasite. Furthermore, they must do so based on sound biological insights and the use of hypothesis-driven studies of these complex systems. A major challenge over the next century will be to capitalize on these new findings and translate them into successful, sustainable strategies for control, elimination and eradication of the parasitic diseases that pose major public health threats to the physical and cognitive development and health of so many people worldwide.
Abstract in English:Paleoparasitology may be developed as a new tool to parasite evolution studies. DNA sequences dated thousand years ago, recovered from archaeological material, means the possibility to study parasite-host relationship coevolution through time. Together with tracing parasite-host dispersion throughout the continents, paleoparasitology points to the interesting field of evolution at the molecular level. In this paper a brief history of paleoparasitology is traced, pointing to the new perspectives opened by the recent techniques introduced.
Abstract in English:Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli is an important cause of traveler's diarrhea and diarrheal illnesses in children in the developing world. In this presentation we will focus on the main virulence attributes of this pathogenic category of E. coli, and discuss the evolution of studies conducted in our laboratory.
Abstract in English:Thanks to the phylogenetic systematics revolution, systematic parasitology is poised to make significant contributions in tropical medicine and public health, biodiversity science, and evolutionary biology. At the same time, the taxonomic impediment is acute within parasitology. Both systematists and non-systematists must be interested in working towards common goals and establishing collaborative efforts in order to re-vitalize and re-populate systematic parasitology.
Abstract in English:A brief historical overview is given of the most relevant taxonomic studies of insect groups vectors of transmissible diseases in Brazil, from the "heroic" times of the foundation of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz in Rio de Janeiro up to the present. The following orders are considered: Phthiraptera (Anoplura, Amblycera and Ischnocera), Hemiptera (Reduviidae: Triatominae), Siphonaptera and Diptera (Culicidae, Ceratopogonidae, Psychodidae: Phlebotominae, Simuliidae, Tabanidae, Chloropidae and Muscidae). The most important Brazilian collections of each group are cited.
Abstract in English:A sylvatic Triatoma infestans DM (dark morph) population detected in the Bolivian Chaco was characterized and compared with various domestic ones. The degree of differentiation of DM was clearly within the T. infestans intra-specific level. Nevertheless marked chromatic and morphometric differences as well as differences in antennal pattern, chromosome banding and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA support the hypothesis of a distinct population. Continuous exchange of insects between wild and domestic habitats seems unlikely in the Chaco.
Abstract in English:The development of biotechnology in the last three decades has generated the feeling that the newest scientific achievements will deliver high standard quality of life through abundance of food and means for successfully combating diseases. Where the new biotechnologies give access to genetic information, there is a common belief that physiological and pathological processes result from subtle modifications of gene expression. Trustfully, modern genetics has produced genetic maps, physical maps and complete nucleotide sequences from 141 viruses, 51 organelles, two eubacteria, one archeon and one eukaryote (Saccharomices cerevisiae). In addition, during the Centennial Commemoration of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute the nearly complete human genome map was proudly announced, whereas the latest Brazilian key stone contribution to science was the publication of the Shillela fastidiosa genomic sequence highlythed on a Nature cover issue. There exists a belief among the populace that further scientific accomplishments will rapidly lead to new drugs and methodological approaches to cure genetic diseases and other incurable ailments. Yet, much evidence has been accumulated, showing that a large information gap exists between the knowledge of genome sequence and our knowledge of genome function. Now that many genome maps are available, people wish to know what are we going to do with them. Certainly, all these scientific accomplishments will shed light on many more secrets of life. Nevertheless, parsimony in the weekly announcements of promising scientific achievements is necessary. We also need many more creative experimental biologists to discover new, as yet un-envisaged biotechnological approaches, and the basic resource needed for carrying out mile stone research necessary for leading us to that "promised land"often proclaimed by the mass media.
Abstract in English:Microsporidia is a common term that has been used to refer to a group of eukaryotic, obligate intracellular protozoan parasites belonging to the phylum Microspora. They are important agricultural parasites, contaminating commercial insects; they are also important by infecting laboratory rodents, rabbits and primates. Ever since the early cases found by Magarino Torres, who reported the presence of Encephalitozoon in a patient suffering of a meningoencephalomyelitis, some human pathology caused by microsporidia has been described. However, only after the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome outbreak have these organisms appeared as significant etiological agents in different pathologies. Even so, they remain underestimated. In the present article, the importance of microsporidia for the human pathology in immunocompromised host has been stressed.
Abstract in English:The concept that microorganisms can modulate the host resistance was historically reviewed in the present article. The importance of African trypanosomiasis in the development of the research on immunosuppression as well as the impact of human immunodeficiency virus infection are discussed. Each day new opportunistic organisms establish a constant challenge for the correct diagnosis of concomitant infections in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The importance of parasite infection in the balance of host resistance in the third world was emphasized. Finally, some aspects of Leishmania as opportunistic organisms were presented.
Abstract in English:The paper summarizes recent findings on the epidemiology and pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/Aids), highlighting the role of co-infections with major tropical diseases. Such co-infections have been studied in the Brazilian context since the beginning of the Aids epidemic and are expected to be more frequent and relevant as the Aids epidemic in Brazil proceeds towards smaller municipalities and the countryside, where tropical diseases are endemic. Unlike opportunistic diseases that affect basically the immunocompromised host, most tropical diseases, as well as tuberculosis, are pathogenic on their own, and can affect subjects with mild or no immunossuppression. In the era of highly active anti-retroviral therapies (HAART), opportunistic diseases seem to be on decrease in Brazil, where such medicines are fully available. Benefiting from HAART in terms of restoration of the immune function, putative milder clinical courses are expected in the future for most co-infections, including tropical diseases. On the other hand, from an ecological perspective, the progressive geographic diffusion of Aids makes tropical diseases and tuberculosis a renewed challenge for Brazilian researchers and practitioners dealing with HIV/Aids in the coming years.
Abstract in English:In recent years many remarkable changes occurred in our way of life, producing opportunities for microbes. All these changes are related to the recent emergence of previously unrecognized diseases, or the resurgence of diseases that, at least in developed countries, were thought to be under control. This concept is reviewed regarding fungal infections and their agents in the immunocompromised host. The changing pattern of these infections, the portals of entry of fungi into the human host, fungal pathogenicity and the main predisposing factors are analyzed. Opportunistic fungal infections in cancer, organ transplant and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients are reviewed, specially candidiasis and aspergillosis.
Abstract in English:Protozoa are among the most important pathogens that can cause infection in immunocompromised patients. They infect particularly individuals with impaired cell immunity, such as those with hematologic neoplasias, those submitted to transplant of solid organs, those under high-dose corticosteroid therapy, and carriers of the human immunodeficiency virus. Among the protozoa that most commonly cause disease in immunocompromised individuals are Toxoplasma gondii, Trypanosoma cruzi, Cryptosporidium parvum, Isospora belli, Cyclospora cayetanensis and microsporidia; the former two cause severe encephalitis and myocarditis, and the others cause gastrointestinal infections. Early diagnosis and prompt institution of specific therapy for each of these organisms are basic measures to decrease morbidity and mortality associated with these infections.
Abstract in English:The studies of rare genetic defects, the preliminary results of population-based studies, being validated by the experimental immunocompromised animal models and the current observations accumulated in immunocompromised patients with mycobacterial diseases provide us with insights into the importance of the macrophage activation pathway in controlling human infection with pathogenic and non pathogenic intracellular multiplying mycobacteria. Initial cytokine production by infected macrophages and/or dendritic cells could be crucial in the overall regulation of self cure, acquired protection or immunopathological sequelae expressing the disease. Knowledge of molecular and genetic cross-talks between phagocytic and specialized antigen presenting cells and different mycobacterial products associated with persistence or replication of the intracellular bacteria, could provide further informations on the global immune regulation of the early host responses to infection and the following events. It seems likely that the development of mycobacterial infections in humans will turn out to be as much dependent on the genetic make up of the host as or the virulence of the bacteria.
Abstract in English:Mucosal surfaces have a fundamental participation in many aspects of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection pathogenesis. In Brazilian HIV-1 infected subjects, loss of weight and appetite are among the most debilitating symptoms. In this review we describe a defined mucosal immunogen that has profound but transient effects on HIV viral load, and we suggest that gut associated lymphoid tissue under constant immunostimulation is likely to provide a major contribution to the total levels of HIV. We also show that hypermetabolism appears to play a role in the wasting process in Brazilian patients coinfected with HIV and tuberculosis.
Abstract in English:Tissue invasion and pathology by Trypanosoma cruzi result from an interaction between parasite virulence and host immunity. Successive in vivo generations of the parasite select populations with increasing ability to invade the host. Conversely, prolonged in vitro selection of the parasite produces attenuated sublines with low infectivity for mammals. One such subline (TCC clone) has been extensively used in our laboratory as experimental vaccine and tested in comparative experiments with its virulent ancestor (TUL). The experiments here reviewed aimed at the use of immunodeficient mice for testing the infectivity of TCC parasites. It has not been possible to obtain virulent, revertant sublines by prolonged passaged in such mice.
Abstract in English:Dengue virus types 1 and 2 have been isolated in Brazil by the Department of Virology, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, in 1986 and 1990 respectively, after many decades of absence. A successful continental Aedes aegypti control program in the Americas, has been able to eradicate the vector in most countries in the 60's, but the program could not be sustained along the years. Dengue viruses were reintroduced in the American region and the infection became endemic in Brazil, like in most Central and SouthAmerican countries and in the Caribbean region, due to the weaning of the vector control programs in these countries. High demographic densities and poor housing conditions in large urban communities, made the ideal conditions for vector spreading. All four dengue types are circulating in the continent and there is a high risk of the introduction in the country of the other two dengue types in Brazil, with the development of large epidemics. After the Cuban episode in 1981, when by the first time a large epidemic of dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome have been described in the Americas, both clinical presentations are observed, specially in the countries like Brazil, with circulation of more than one dengue virus type. A tetravalent potent vaccine seems to be the only possible way to control the disease in the future, besides rapid clinical and laboratory diagnosis, in order to offer supportive treatment to the more severe clinical infections.
Abstract in English:With the infestation by Aedes aegypti, urban yellow fever might already exist. This did not occur because of either the lacking of a sufficient contact between the diseased individual and the A. aegypti or perhaps because this, after sixty years without transmitting the virus, needs an adaptation phase to infecting again.
Abstract in English:The interaction of man with viral agents was possibly a key factor shaping human evolution, culture and civilization from its outset. Evidence of the effect of disease, since the early stages of human speciation, through pre-historical times to the present suggest that the types of viruses associated with man changed in time. As human populations progressed technologically, they grew in numbers and density. As a consequence different viruses found suitable conditions to thrive and establish long-lasting associations with man. Although not all viral agents cause disease and some may in fact be considered beneficial, the present situation of overpopulation, poverty and ecological inbalance may have devastating effets on human progress. Recently emerged diseases causing massive pandemics (eg., HIV-1 and HCV, dengue, etc.) are becoming formidable challenges, which may have a direct impact on the fate of our species.
Abstract in English:Bacteria active against dipteran larvae (mosquitoes and black flies) include a wide variety of Bacillus thuringiensis and B. sphaericus strains, as well as isolates of Brevibacillus laterosporus and Clostridium bifermentans. All display different spectra and levels of activity correlated with the nature of the toxins, mainly produced during the sporulation process. This paper describes the structure and mode of action of the main mosquitocidal toxins, in relationship with their potential use in mosquito and/or black fly larvae control. Investigations with laboratory and field colonies of mosquitoes that have become highly resistant to the B. sphaericus Bin toxin have shown that several mechanisms of resistance are involved, some affecting the toxin/receptor binding step, others unknown.
Abstract in English:Bacillus spp. based larvides are increasingly replacing, with numerous advantages, chemical insecticides in programmes for controlling black fly and mosquito populations. Brazil was among the pioneers in adopting Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (B.t.i) to control black flies. However, the major current mosquito control programme in Brazil, the Programme for Eradication of Aedes aegypti launched in 1997, only recently decided to replace temephos by B.t.i based larvicides, in the State of Rio de Janeiro. In the last decade, works developed by research groups in Brazilian institutions have generated a significant contribution to this subject through the isolation of B. sphaericus new strains, the development of new products and the implementation of field trials of Bacillus efficacy against mosquito species under different environmental conditions.
Abstract in English:Insects of the Simuliidae family have been the object of control in Rio Grande do Sul since the 70s. Their constant attacks became a social-economical problem as well as a problem of Public Health, with serious consequences to men and to the economy of the areas in which the insects develop. At first, the control was done with a chemical larvicide Themephos ABATE 500 E, but an imperfect measuring of outflow to determine the quantity of the product made Simulium spp. resistant to it. From 1983 on, following a study of a new method for the outflow measuring, we started to use a biological larvicide Bacillus thuringiensis serovar israelensis based. The biological control uses the new method in 36.4% of the state area, assisting about 3,500,000 inhabitants.
Abstract in English:The Flaviviridae is a family of about 70 mostly arthropod-borne viruses many of which are major public health problems with members being present in most continents. Among the most important are yellow fever (YF), dengue with its four serotypes and Japanese encephalitis virus. A live attenuated virus is used as a cost effective, safe and efficacious vaccine against YF but no other live flavivirus vaccines have been licensed. The rise of recombinant DNA technology and its application to study flavivirus genome structure and expression has opened new possibilities for flavivirus vaccine development. One new approach is the use of cDNAs encopassing the whole viral genome to generate infectious RNA after in vitro transcription. This methodology allows the genetic mapping of specific viral functions and the design of viral mutants with considerable potential as new live attenuated viruses. The use of infectious cDNA as a carrier for heterologous antigens is gaining importance as chimeric viruses are shown to be viable, immunogenic and less virulent as compared to the parental viruses. The use of DNA to overcome mutation rates intrinsic of RNA virus populations in conjunction with vaccine production in cell culture should improve the reliability and lower the cost for production of live attenuated vaccines. The YF virus despite a long period ignored by researchers probably due to the effectiveness of the vaccine has made a come back, both in nature as human populations grow and reach endemic areas as well as in the laboratory being a suitable model to understand the biology of flaviviruses in general and providing new alternatives for vaccine development through the use of the 17D vaccine strain.
Abstract in English:Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by chronic inflammation of the synovial joints resulting from hyperplasia of synovial fibroblasts and infiltration of lymphocytes, macrophages and plasma cells, all of which manifest signs of activation. All these cells proliferate abnormally, invade bone and cartilage, produce an elevated amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines, metalloproteinases and trigger osteoclast formation and activation. Some of the pathophysiological consequences of the disease may be explained by the inadequate apoptosis, which may promote the survival of autoreactive T cells, macrophages or synovial fibroblasts. Although RA does not result from single genetic mutations, elucidation of the molecular mechanisms implicated in joint destruction has revealed novel targets for gene therapy. Gene transfer strategies include inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines, blockade of cartilage-degrading metalloproteinases, inhibition of synovial cell activation and manipulation of the Th1-Th2 cytokine balance. Recent findings have iluminated the idea that induction of apoptosis in the rheumatoid joint can be also used to gain therapeutic advantage in the disease. In the present review we will discuss different strategies used for gene transfer in RA and chronic inflammation. Particularly, we will highlight the importance of programmed cell death as a novel target for gene therapy using endogenous biological mediators, such as galectin-1, a beta-galactoside-binding protein that induces apoptosis of activated T cells and immature thymocytes.