Emerging viruses
The group „Emerging viruses” is led by Pr Isabella Eckerle, MD, DTMH, clinical virologists with more than 10 years of experience working on emerging viruses with focus on zoonotic viruses and coronaviruses. She is also the co-responsible for the Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases.
This group is the affiliated research group of the Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases, a joint institution between the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, with the main laboratory of research group being located at the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine (MIMOL) at the Centre medical universitaire (CMU).
The focus of our research is the phenotypic characterization of novel and emerging zoonotic viruses by 1) laboratory-based risk assessment using innovative and highly specific cell culture models from humans and animal reservoir hosts and 2) translational studies on clinical viral characteristics in humans, such as viral shedding patterns, antibody responses and intra-host evolution.
Since the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, our laboratory is strongly involved in both in development and validation of diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2, as well as multiple research projects on SARS-CoV-2, for example on virus isolation studies, creation of a SARS-CoV-2 biobank, molecular as well as phenotypic characterization and coinfection with other respiratory viruses in primary airway epithelial cells and clinical as well as immunological studies.
The research group is closely connected to the diagnostic virology laboratory and the the Swiss National reference laboratory for emerging viral infections of the Federal Office of Public Health Switzerland (Centre référence infections virales émergentes, CRIVE) at the HUG. The Centre hosts P3 and P4D facilities, located at the HUG, where our work with infectious SARS-CoV-2 is performed.
Link to the Geneva Centre of emerging Viral Diseases https://www.hug.ch/centre-maladies-virales-emergentes and diagnostic laboratories of the HUG incl. the CRIVE https://www.hug.ch/laboratoire-virologie
The laboratory is member of the international reference laboratories for COVID19 testing, designated by the World Health Organization to us in early 2020, to which our group is contributing in terms of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic validations (WHO COVID-19 Reference Laboratory Network)
The laboratory is also collaborating partner of the Foundation of Innovative Diagnostics (FIND) to provide support for accurate SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics and other emerging viruses (e.g. monkeypox). Updates of current validations for molecular assays and Antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests can be found here:
Close collaborations exist also with the Infectious Diseases Service, the Population Epidemiology Unit, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Unit of the HUG and the Centre of Vaccinology of the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Unige.
Within Switzerland, our Centre and research group is furthermore collaborating with a range of other laboratories, among them the EPFL, Vetsuisse Bern and Spiez laboratory.