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Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases (INNT)

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Foto: Laborgebäude Insel Riems 2014
Laboratory Building, Insel Riems (© FLI)

The Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases (INNT) is working on new methods for the prion protein detection (BSE, scrapie) and for the differentiation of the different TSE strains. The INNT realizes experimental BSE pathogenesis studies in cattle and small ruminants and therefore the institute runs a national BSE archive. Transgenic mouse models have been developed to characterize the transmission of prions across species barriers and to analyze the importance of the glycosylation of the prion protein  The different regions which take part in the misfolding of the prion protein are determined in scrapie infected cell cultures or in cell-free conversion systems.

Apart fromt these novel epizootic diseases the INNT works predominantly on viral zoonoses caused by flaviviruses (West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus a.o), alphaviruses (American equine encephalitis viruses), bunyaviruses (Hanta-, Rift Valley fever virus, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus a.o.), Hepeviruses (Hepatitis E virus), filoviruses (Marburg, Ebola viruses) and on  Henipaviruses (Hendra, Nipah viruses).

Working with some of these viruses demands higher safety standards (L3, L4) for the laboratories which is not fullfilled with the present facilities but which will be possible in the new facilities realized in the new building of the FLI, Isle of Riems, where the INNT will be responsible for the management of the S4 safety area.

Therefore with these viruses the INNT mainly concentrates on the establishment of diagnostic methods like quantitative real-time RT-PCR microarray-technologies, serological and immunological methods. The INNT represents the national reference laboratory for BSE, scrapie, virus caused equine encephalitis, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, alphaviruses (American equine encephalitis viruses), bunyaviruses (hantaviruses), Rift Valley fever virus, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus, filoviruses and henipaviruses. The INNT runs the national veterinary agency for zoonoses in Germany, the  network “rodent-borne pathogens”  and established  a technology platform for the creation of transgenic mice with an  associated specific pathogen free animal husbandry.