The Virology Section is specialized in the detection of human pathogenic viruses of the biosafety levels 2- 4, which can be used as biological warfare agents and/or are of epidemiological significance for national civil protection.
International networking and memberships in European networks such as the ENIVD (European network for the diagnosis of "Imported" Viral Diseases; www.enivd.de) and QUANDHIP (Quality Assurance Exercises and Networking on the Detection of Highly Infectious Pathogens; www.quandhip.eu) ensure scientific exchange in viral diagnostics. As member of the EMLab project (European Mobile Laboratory Project: www.emlab.eu) we train on-site detection of viral human pathogens (e.g. Ebola virus).
Primary and secondary diagnostics (see Services) are performed according to international standards and include classical virological and the latest molecular biological methods. Primary and secondary diagnostics of biosafety level 3 and 4 viruses are carried out for the regional laboratory network (centre-west, Cantonal Laboratory of Bern). External quality assurance is guaranteed through regular participation in national and international laboratory proficiency testing (inter-laboratory tests). (ENIVD, EQA, QCMD, RCPAQAP).
In various research projects with national and international (academic) institutions and with the support of the military centres of competence armasuisse and NBC EOD, we are
- developing and evaluating new rapid detection systems for military and civilian first responders
- addressing epidemiological issues (Link to NRZK, ‘Mosquitos’, Hanta)
- examining antiviral substances (IMUL, CHUV: identification and evaluation of antiviral substances against Hanta-Virus infections (PDF, 147KB)
- establishing next-generation sequencing (NGS) methods for the detection and genomic analysis of new kinds of viruses ( Corinne Oechslin: Metagenomics (PDF, 101KB) and Optimierung der Methoden zum Nachweis von Viren in Vektoren (PDF, German, 145KB)
- High-throughput procedure for tick surveys of tick-borne encephalitis virus and its application in a national surveillance study in Switzerland. Gäumann R et al. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Jul;76(13):4241-9.(PDF, 445KB)
- Phylogenetic and virulence analysis of tick-borne encephalitis virus field isolates from Switzerland. Gäumann R. J Med Virol. 2011 May;83(5):853.(PDF, 470KB)
- A five-year perspective on the situation of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and status of the hantavirus reservoirs in Europe, 2005-2010. Heyman P et al. Euro Surveill. 2011 Sep 8;16(36).(PDF, 557KB)
- SiRNA inhibits replication of Langat virus, a member of the tick-borne encephalitis virus complex in organotypic rat brain slices. Maffioli C et al. PLoS One. 2012; 7(9): e44703.
- European surveillance for West Nile virus in mosquito populations. Engler O et al. bInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2013 Oct 11;10(10):4869-95.
- Seroprevalence of hantavirus infections in Switzerland in 2009: difficulties in determining prevalence in a country with low endemicity. Engler et al. Euro Surveill. 2013 Dec 12;18(50).
- A tick-borne encephalitis model in infant rats infected with langat virus. Maffioli C et al. Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2014 Dec;73(12):1107-15.
- Temporal and spatial analysis of the 2014-2015 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. Carroll MW et al. Nature. 2015 Aug 6;524(7563):97-101.
- Metagenomic diagnostics for the simultaneous detection of multiple pathogens in human stool specimens from Côte d'Ivoire: A proof-of-concept study. Schneeberger et al. Infect Genet Evol. 2015 Sep 21.
Dr. Christian Beuret
Dr. Roland Züst