Core Partner, BSL4, EU

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Istituto Nationale malattei infettive L.Spallanzani (INMI) is a Public research and care Institute for infectious diseases (IDs) operating since 1936, and the Italian centre of excellence for the care and epidemiologic, basic, translational research in patients affected by IDs, with a special interest in HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, severe and other emerging/re-emerging infections and IDs in the immunocompromised host. The mission is to assist in the development of a global response to emerging/re-emerging diseases, including highly contagious, naturally occurring and deliberately released microorganisms and to help integration between clinical, epidemiological and pre-clinical research, with the aim of enhancing the diagnosis, care and prevention of infectious diseases. The medical center is provided with 200 beds for acute IDs, located in rooms at negative pressure.

INMI has 4 BSL-3 facilities for routine diagnostics, laboratory research, clinical sample preparation, and autopsies. One BSL3 laboratory is associated to a biobanking facility, where a large collection of samples from patients with infectious diseases, virus strains and cell lines is maintained since more than 30 years. In a separate building, a BSL-4 laboratory is located, based on cabinet line, that is currently used for both diagnostic and research purpose. A new building is dedicated to highly infectious and severe diseases with 10 high containment rooms for patient care, each with independent ambulance access, and maximum containment laboratory facility, including BSL-3 and BSL-4, and 20 rooms for quarantine.

INMI has been identified in 2001 by the Italian MHO as the national referral centre for ID emergencies and bioterrorism-related pathogens, and is currently engaged in facing, and helping to respond to, these health threats, whether naturally occurring, newly emergent, or deliberately released. Ssince 2003 INMI is member of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) coordinated by the WHO. Since 2009, INMI belongs to the Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory Network (EDPLN) coordinated with GOARN at WHO for laboratory readiness and response. INMI is involved in th European mobile laboratory (EMLab) project, and is leader for the deployment of one of the mobile units in the sub-Saharian East Africa (Tanzania) and for training peoples in order to increase the response capacitìy at local level. In this context, several INMI members have been deployed to Guinea as part of the EMLab team responding tothe current Ebola outbreak. Since 2009, INMI is WHO Collaborating Centre for clinical care, diagnosis, response and training on Highly Infectious Diseases.

The laboratory of Virology is the largest in Italy focused on basic and clinical research on viral pathogens, with a wide sample archive (serum, cells, bioptic tissues) dating back almost 15 years. The laboratory of virology is a key actor in the role played by INMI as national referral centre for diagnostic of infectious disease emergencies and bioterrorism-related challenges.