Photo: Anne-Lie Blomström
The Section of Virology is pursuing research on viruses of veterinary and public health importance and has the following main research activities.
1) Applied and fundamental research on pathogenesis and viral-host interaction of viral infection, as well as on virological aspects of food safety.
2) Development of methods and applications of high-throughput sequencing technologies (HTS) and bioinformatics, such as searching for unknown and variants of known viruses in clinical samples. In addition, HTS is applied to investigate viral genetic variation and ecology.
Emerging viral diseases
One of our research interests is to study viral ecology in and around areas where emerging viruses may appear. We investigate wildlife reservoirs for yet unknown viruses, the possible involvement of vectors (midges, mosquitos, ticks) in the maintenance and spread of these viruses to domestic animals and to humans. We also study how these viruses interact with their different hosts, including with the vector, in order to identify novel ways to control the infections.
Transboundary viral diseases
Other projects evolve around transboundary animal diseases, in particular viruses of global importance such as Newcastle disease virus, avian influenza virus, peste-des-petits-ruminants virus and African swine fever virus. We are particularly interested in understanding their infection biology, ecology and the human involvement with the virus maintenance and spread.
Viral diseases of small animals
We also have a strong interest and tradition to study viruses of small animals and in particular FIP of cats. In the latter, we are using HTS to study various aspects on this mysterious viral disease. The overall goal is to better understand the viral genetics and host interaction of this lethal disease. Other viruses are also of interest, such as kennel cough, canine distemper virus and, the newly discovered feline morbillivirus.
We have extensive national and international collaboration on viral diseases of production, companion and wild animals including zoonotic viruses. Examples of established collaborations are with the Uppsala University, National Veterinary Institute, Folkhälsomyndigheten, Makerere University of Uganda, University of São Paulo of Brazil, Eduardo Mondlane University of Mozambique, Sokoine University of Agriculture and University of Dar es-Salaam of Tanzania. We are also part of the Collaborating Centre of the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) for the Biotechnology-based Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases in Veterinary Medicine.
Examples of current on-going projects