P3. Biological and Behavioural Determinants in the Contraction and Spread of Communicable Diseases in Vulnerable Populations (DAPET Programme)

The purpose of the programme is to study and investigate the biological, behavioural and structural factors, as well as interactions between them, determining the transmission and contraction of infectious agents and their spread within a population. The programme will place particular emphasis on those communicable diseases that contribute the most to the burden of disease, both locally and globally.

Strategic Objectives

  • Study the pathologies associated with poverty and vulnerable populations, including those from countries with few resources, both at the origin and the destination.
  • Use the genetic and molecular technologies to study the transmission, natural history and (both microbial and human) population dynamics and interaction determining the epidemiology of communicable diseases.
  • Identify the factors related to the agent, host and medium contributing to increasing the effectiveness of Public Health interventions.

Lines of Research

  • Global health. Communicable diseases related with poverty. Immigration and communicable diseases. Neglected infections.
  • Interaction of genetic and molecular factors in human populations and microbial/viral populations with the natural history and the spread of communicable diseases. Determinants, transmission and impact of antimicrobial and antiviral resistances.
  • Behavioural and structural factors (social vulnerability, social norms) related with the spread of communicable diseases.
  • Integrated modelling of communicable diseases.
  • Infections associated with cancer and other chronic diseases. Study of determinants, prevention and training.
  • Teaching and new training methodologies in the field of study of the Programme.
  • Study of the distribution and determinants of HCV contraction.

Strategic Subprogrammes

1. Global Health

The general objectives are to create synergies between the Programme and CIBERESP groups to share and take advantage of both the existing international platforms and the specific skills and capabilities in the field of epidemiological methods, statistical analysis, the molecular genetics and microbiology techniques, applied to Global Health research questions. The specific objectives are to:

  • Identify the determinants of the transmission of malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis, of antimicrobial resistances, and other communicable diseases, in countries with few resources.
  • Design and evaluate preventive interventions intended for reducing the incidence of communicable diseases in these countries, including early diagnosis with simple techniques.
  • Molecular epidemiology studies of HIV and of rates of antiretroviral resistance transmitted and acquired in infected adult and paediatric populations.
  • Study the natural history of communicable diseases and the impact of co-infections on said diseases.
  • Provide training in the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to professionals who find it difficult to obtain continued face-to-face training.

2. Immigration and Health

The general objectives are to study the health status of the immigrant population in Spain in connection with communicable and non-communicable diseases, as well as their determinants, from and in collaboration with the groups making up this Programme and in collaboration with other CIBERESP groups. The specific objectives are to:

  • Improve and monitor knowledge about the health status of the immigrant population in the field of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
  • Identify determinants related to health issues in connection with diseases of the immigrant population.
  • Identify “biological markers” of environmental and social integration in an immigrant population, with consequences for health issues (microbiota composition).
  • Evaluate and improve the effectiveness of interventions that seek to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases in the immigrant population, including the use of dried blood spot specimen-type alternative samples to prevent follow-up losses.
  • Provide training in migration and health for professionals that find it difficult to obtain continued face-to-face training.
  • Incorporate aspects related to populations at the origin in countries with few resources in the preceding objectives.

3. Role of Infectious Agents in Chronic Diseases

The general objectives are to combine new microorganism detection techniques with rigorous epidemiological studies in human populations that allow proving potential causal relations between microorganisms and chronic diseases that have been unknown up until now, as well as to clarify the possible pathogenic role of some infections in the development of certain chronic diseases. All this is done for the ultimate purpose of designing preventive strategies or treatments in Public Health.


Attached Groups

See spanish website for furher information about research groups participating in this program.

Attached groups (Spanish)