Mission of the Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases
The Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases (GCEVD) is a joint institution of the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) and the University of Geneva (UNIGE) - with the aim to understand and prevent the spread of emerging and re-emerging viruses, by providing diagnostic capacity combined with clinical expertise and basic research.
We believe that only in this interdisciplinary approach we will be able to tackle the global challenges of the future posed by novel viruses and their pandemic risks.
The goal of the Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases is the connection of all services working in the field of viral infectious diseases within the Geneva University Hospitals (Infectious Diseases, Tropical and Humanitarian Medicine, Vaccinology Center, Virology Laboratory and National Reference Center for Emerging Viral Infections), the Institute of Global Health and the virus research groups of the Faculty of Medicine of Geneva. Beyond this, we aim to foster and enhance our partnerships within the international Geneva (governmental and non-governmental organizations).
The COVID-19 pandemic, the recent monkeypox epidemic, and previous Ebola epidemics have demonstrated the high level of human and technical expertise available in our two institutions. In recent years, the Center for Emerging Viral Diseases has provided unique medical expertise, integrating diagnostic aspects, antiviral treatments, epidemiology, vaccines and public health. With very strong ties to hospital activities, our research has a direct view of clinical reality, and makes it possible to focus on clinical priorities while conducting basic research. Drawing on its virological expertise, the Center has been leading the Swiss national genomic surveillance program for SARS-CoV-2 funded by the FOPH since March 2021, and has frequentexchanges with experts from around the world to monitor variants. This work is carried out in close collaboration with public, local and federal health authorities, of which the Center is a constant partner by offering regular support. During the large Ebola epidemic in 2014-2015, Geneva was the first center chosen by the World Health Organization (WHO) to test the most promising vaccine against Ebola and the HUG was one of the few European hospitals to have successfully treated a patient infected with this virus. Furthermore, the HUG has the only diagnostic laboratory hosted by a hospital in Switzerland with the highest level of biosecurity. The members of the Center also have extensive field experience in this area, with multiple missions and collaborations.
The term "emerging" is not exclusively limited to novel and exotic viruses, but the Centre has an additional focus on the complex viral syndromes seen in high-resource countries in hospitalized patients (chronic viral infection, infection of the immunocompromised host).
The core mission of the Centre are:
- A competent up-to-date diagnostic platform for Switzerland, available 24/24h and 7/7d.
- Interdisciplinary, cross-cutting research on emerging viruses at the fundamental, translational and clinical level in the field of emerging viral diseases
- Expertise for viral diseases including complex viral syndromes in patients hospitalized at the HUG