Core Partner, BSL3, EU

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Erasmus MC is the largest university medical centre in the Netherlands. The Department of Viroscience at Erasmus MC employs more than 110 persons of different disciplines and runs an extensive research program on viral infections of humans and animals, with specific interests in viral zoonoses, pathogenesis and transmission and natural and vaccine-induced immunity. There are 6 principal investigators at the professor level, each representing an essential skill in infectious diseases, including professors in 1) General Virology; 2) Molecular Virology; 3) Immunology; 4) Pathology; 5) Epidemiology; 6) Clinical Virology, as well as assistant/associate professors specialized in specific virus fields. Viruses under research include influenza A and B virus, RSV, hMPV, measles virus, coronaviruses, HIV-1, HIV-2, hepatitis A, B and C viruses, West Nile virus, dengue viruses, monkey pox virus, and herpes viruses. The department houses the National Influenza Centre, the national reference centre for emerging viral diseases, and the international reference centres for viral haemorrhagic fevers and measles for WHO. The department has built up an extensive track record in the identification of several novel human viruses, including Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, human metapneumovirus (HMPV), human H5N1 infection in Hong Kong, SARS-CoV, hCoV-NL63 and MERS-CoV. In collaboration with the department of Zoology at Cambridge University, UK, the department has developed methods for improving human influenza virus surveillance and vaccine strain selection (2004), which have been adopted by the WHO as an integral part of the annual vaccine strain selection process. The department of Viroscience is the Coordinator of the FP7 large scale integrating projects EMPERIE and ANTIGONE and participates in numerous other FP7 projects of relevance to emerging disease preparedness, including the recently started large European clinical research network of PREPARE.

EMC brings a track record of applied research in the development of reagents and protocols for molecular and serological detection of emerging viral pathogens, including those viruses that were discovered at the Viroscience Lab of Erasmus Medical Centre; MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and HMPV. Its research includes the characterization of viral variants and the serological response generated in the susceptible host species of many other viral infections of humans and animals. State of the art facilities for working with these (zoonotic) pathogens both in vitro as well as in animal models are available. The Viroscience lab participates in the ENIVD network, specifically in the outbreak team, for which EMC develops laboratory preparedness checklists to guide initial response to novel disease outbreaks. The Viroscience Lab is coordinator of the FP7 large scale integrating projects ANTIGONE, participates in numerous other relevant FP7 projects like the recently started large European clinical research network of PREPARE.