Research at the Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases


Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4
1205 Geneva

Isabella Eckerle
Isabella Eckerle
Physician in charge of the Centre
Laurent Kaiser
Laurent Kaiser
Head of division
cmve - activités de recherche

The Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases has its own research group focused on "Emerging Viruses", headed by Prof. Isabella Eckerle. It is also affiliated with the University of Geneva, and more specifically with the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine (MIMOL) at the University Medical Center (CMU). Pr. Isabella Eckerle is also a member of the "High-level European expert group proposing a roadmap towards stabilization of the COVID-19 pandemic in the European region".

A major research focus of the group is the laboratory-based risk assessment of new and emerging zoonotic viruses by classical molecular and virological methods, using innovative and highly specific cell culture models from human and animal reservoir hosts. Since the start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, our laboratory has been heavily involved in the development and validation of diagnostic methods, as well as in SARS-CoV-2 research projects, such as viral shedding, virus isolation studies, the creation of a SARS-CoV-2 biobank, molecular and phenotypic characterization and coinfection with other respiratory viruses in primary airway epithelial cells, as well as clinical and immunological studies.

The research group is closely linked to the HUG's virological diagnostics laboratory and Reference Centre for Emerging Viral Infections (CRIVE). The Centre houses the only P3 and P4D facilities in the canton of Geneva, located at the HUG, where our work on infectious SARS-CoV-2 is carried out.

In addition, this laboratory is one of 26 international reference laboratories for COVID-19 testing designated by the World Health Organization, to which our Group contributes in terms of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic validations (WHO COVID-19 Reference Laboratory Network).

The laboratory is also a collaborating partner of the Foundation of Innovative Diagnostics (FIND) to provide support for accurate diagnostics of SARS-CoV-2.

More information on the Pr. Isabella Eckerle-led research group's research funding, initiatives and affiliations can be found below.

Initiatives and Affiliations
  • Ad hoc Commission on SARS-CoV-2 of the Society for Virology (German-speaking virologists from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, "Gesellschaft für Virologie"), available HERE.
  • The Lancet's COVID-19 Commission: Taskforce on the Origins, Early Control of the Pandemic, and One Health Solutions to Future Pandemic Threats, available HERE
  • Co-author and co-initiator of John Snow's memorandum
  • Invited expert to the World Health Organization (WHO), Global Research and Innovation Forum: towards a 2019 New Coronavirus Research Roadmap, R&D Blueprint initiative (February 11-12, 2020).
  • Member of the expert group on the natural history and transmission of the virus.
  • World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 Target product profiles for priority diagnostics to support response to the COVID-19 pandemic (September 2020).
  • World Health Organization (WHO): Temporary WHO advisor for the expert consultation on mother-to-child transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (October 2020).
Research Funds
  • Horizon 2020, European Union, Project: "European Clinical Research Alliance on Infectious Diseases - ECRAID-Base".
  • Swiss National Foundation (SNF) National Research Program (NRP): 78 "Covid-19", Project: "Large-scale serological profiling of SARS-CoV-2 and related human CoVs using high-throughput microfluidic nano-immunoassays", Co-application with Sebastian Maerkl, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
  • Swiss National Foundation (SNF), Special call on coronaviruses, Project: "Phenotypic characterization of a biobank of clinical SARS-CoV-2 strains and assessment of the risk of evolution of virus variants",
  • Swiss National Foundation (SNF), Special call on coronaviruses, Project: "Real-time pandemic functional characterization of SARS-CoV-2".
  • Co-application with Volker Thiel and Ronald Dijkman (Institute of Virology and Immunology, Berne).
  • Collaborating laboratory for the Foundation for Innovative Diagnostics (FIND): "Support for accurate diagnosis of 2019-nCoV".
  • Fondation privée HUG: Support for rapid response to SARS-CoV-2
  • Fondation Pictet, Project: "COVID-19, the new challenge for the Center for Emerging Viral Diseases - Understanding the transmission and risk factors of COVID-19 in primary cell culture models".
  • Ernst and Lucie Schmidheiny Foundation, Project: "Evaluation of the host switching capacity of newly identified bat filoviruses via a single amino acid change in the spike glycoprotein".

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Last update : 25/10/2023