Respiratory tract infections

Research group Prof. Werner C. Albrich

Our research focuses on epidemiology, diagnostics, treatment and prevention of respiratory tract infections, in particular Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) and rational antibiotic therapy.

Our main research priorities include:

  • Pneumococcal infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Severe infections in intensive care units
  • Rational antibiotic therapy/treatment duration/biomarker

Current research activities

Pneumococcal infections

Pneumococcus is the leading bacterial pathogen of respiratory tract infections. Our studies investigate risk factors for pneumococcal infections and the impact of pneumococcal vaccines on pneumococcal epidemiology. Projects include collaborations with the Swiss National Center for Invasive Pneumococci (PD Dr. Markus Hilty, Institute for Infectious Diseases, University Bern).

In a human airway epithelial model (Co-PI: Dr. C. Kahlert), we are examining the pathogenesis of pneumococcal infections from colonisation to invasion (collaboration with Prof. Jorge Vidal, University of Mississippi, USA). In addition, there is a collaboration with the Empa (Group Dr. Peter Wick, Head Particles-Biology Interactions Lab) on the influence of nanoparticles on pneumococcal infections.


We investigate the immune pathogenesis of critically ill patients with Covid-19 during the acute phase and in the long-term using multi-omics technology in a multicentric study in collaboration with the University Hospital Geneva and the Clinica Luganese Moncucco (CRiPSI: Covid-19 Risk Prediction in Swiss ICUs-Trial). For this, there are several laboratory collaborations, including Prof. Pierre-Yves Bochud (University Hospital Lausanne), Prof. Liam O’Mahony (APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork (UCC), Ireland) and Prof. Christian von Mering (Department of Molecular Life Sciences, University Zürich).

We are also interested in prognostic scores and biomarkers in patients with Covid-19. Further projects investigate the epidemiology of superinfections in Covid-19 (CH-SUR) and influenza and the effects of the pandemic on the epidemiology of other respiratory infections.


Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is considered one of the most important global infectious diseases with large morbidity and mortality.

We participate in the international pneumonia research study CAPNETZ (

Rational antibiotic therapy

We are investigating the rational use of antibiotics in clinical and epidemiological studies.

The multicentric cluster-randomised intervention study PlusIsLess (PI: PD Dr. Noèmie Boillat-Blanco, University Hospital Lausanne) investigates the safety and efficacy of a new algorithm consisting of lung ultrasound, the biomarker procalcitonin and clinical scores in order to achieve a more targeted antibiotic therapy in patients with pneumonia.

The multicentric randomised controlled trial FENDER (PI: Prof. Benoit Guery, University Hospital Lausanne) examines the efficacy of fecal microbiota transplantation during the first recurrence in patients with Clostridioides difficile.


Research database

On the research database of the KSSG you will find further information regarding our projects and publications.