Prevention and Therapeutics in Infectious Diseases


After this unit, students should be able to:
1. Describe the different types of (viral) licensed vaccines and their advantages and disadvantages.
2. Understand the scientific grounds of contemporary methodologies used in the development and production of new vaccines.
3. Explain the scientific basis of therapeutic interventions against viral diseases and antiviral drug-resistance mechanisms.
4. Describe the mechanisms of action of antibiotics and associated resistance mechanisms.
5. Name the antibiotic sensitivity tests and describe their fundamentals.
6. Perform antibiotic sensitivity tests and interpret their results.
7. Understand the principles of antimicrobial therapy and discuss consequences of antibiotic misuse.
8. Recognize new approaches to the monitoring and control of hospital infection.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Couto/ João Piedade


Weekly - Se a UC for oferecida como opcional, o horário será disponibilizado no 2º semestre

Total - 14

Teaching language



Not applicable


• Ashiru-Oredope D, Hopkins S (2015). Antimicrobial resistance: moving from professional engagement to public action. J Antimicrob Chemother., 70:2927-30.
• Chan HT, Daniell H (2015). Plant-made oral vaccines against human infectious diseases. Are we there yet? Plant Biotechnol J., 13:1056-70.
• Chang HH, Cohen T, Grad YH, et al. (2015). Origin and proliferation of multiple-drug resistance in bacterial pathogens. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev., 79:101-16.
• Flint SJ, Enquist LW, Racaniello VR, Skalka AM (2009). Principles of Virology, ASM Press, Washington DC, EUA, 3.ª Ed. (vol. II).
• Knipe D, Howley P (2013). Fields Virology. Wolters Kluwer, Filadélfia, EUA, 6.ª Ed. (vol.I).
• Loomis RJ, Johnson PR (2015). Emerging vaccine technologies. Vaccines, 3:429-47.
• Lorian V (2005). Antibiotics in laboratory medicine. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Filadélfia, EUA, 5.ª Ed.
• Zhu JD, Meng W, Wang XJ, Wang HC (2015). Broad-spectrum antiviral agents. Front. Microbiol. 6:517. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00517.

Teaching method

The course has a strong expository character (8 lectures, 10.5 hrs.). However, the student is led to critically thinking on the contents, regularly during the class, being questioned and asked for to formulate opinions. The lectures are supported by information in digital format (PowerPoint), later handed over to the students. In the practical classes (3.5 hrs.), students will carry out one susceptibility testing technique (performed by all students). Tutorial sessions are envisaged to clarify any questions, but mainly to the analysis and discussion of results of tests performed in the lab and alternative tests. It is advisable that students read some review papers, which may contribute to the systematization of knowledge and critical analysis of relevant issues. Considering the rapid evolution of knowledge in this area, the bibliography is updated annually.

Evaluation method

The assessment consists of a final written exam, with multiple-choice questions, covering theoretical and practical contents.

Subject matter

I. Historical perspective and fundamentals of vaccination. Live attenuated, inactivated and subunit vaccines. Adjuvants. The Portuguese National Vaccination Program.
II. New vaccine development approaches. VLPs, viral and bacterial vectors. DNA, peptide and edible vaccines.
III. Major classes of antiviral agents in clinical use and mechanisms of action. Resistance to antiviral agents and combination therapy.
IV. Major classes of antibiotics and mechanisms of action. Mechanisms of antibiotic resistance acquisition.
V. Antibiotic sensitivity tests. Practical execution of antibiograms, result reading and interpretation, using the CLSI and EUCAST rules.
VI. Portuguese Program for Prevention and Control of Infection and Resistance to Antimicrobials. Rational prescription of antibiotics. Consequences of the use and abuse of antibiotics. Situation in Portugal, when compared to other countries. Control of antibiotic resistance spread.
VII. New approaches to the monitoring and control of hospital infection.


Programs where the course is taught: