Core Partner, BSL3, EU


Institute of Virology (IVSAS) is a prominent research institution of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS). SAS is a self-governing scientific institution of the Slovak Republic which consists of 69 organisations and presents itself nationally and worldwide through the results in basic and applied research. The IVSAS has a long-lasting tradition in the basic research and postgraduate education of PhD students. The IVSAS was founded in 1953 as a research institution of the former Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. The primary goal of the institute is to perform research in virology, microbiology, molecular and cell biology and oncology. The institute has all important facilities for the research in virology. Most importantly, laboratory and animal facility with biosafety level 3 (BSL3) conditions are present and allow working with BSL3 viruses on cell cultures as well as in animal models. Research on arboviruses is one of the profiling topics of the institute since its foundation. The Department of Virus Ecology (DVE), which will contribute to the project, has been involved in epidemiological and pathogenic studies of tick-borne and rodent-borne viruses. The general interests of the group are ecology and transmission mechanisms of tick-borne arboviruses, development of anti-tick transmission blocking vaccines, genomics of zoonotic viruses, molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis of hantaviruses and other emerging zoonotic viruses.

The DVE research team group has made several original contributions to ecology and transmission of zoonotic viruses and contributed to elucidation of the non-viraemic transmission of tick-borne pathogens between co-feeding ticks and developed a TBEV-tick-mouse model which has been employed in several original studies on TBEV transmission as well as in transmission-blocking antivector vaccine development. Most recently, the group contributed to recent discoveries of hantaviruses in new hosts (shrews, bats) and in various geographical regions (Africa, Central Europe, Back See coast area).
The competence and experience of the IVSAS to contribute to large international research projects is documented by the fact that it participated to 11 FP6 and FP7 projects over the last five years. The DVE team was a member of the very successful FP6 project VIZIER focused on structural genomics of viral enzymes involved in replication. Most importantly, IVSAS is one of the founding members of the European Virus Archive (EVA). Within the EVA joint research activities, IVSAS was a workpackage leader of the Virus Production P3 workpackage which was focused on evaluation of virus production, quantification, and concentration techniques.