Arboviruses are viral infectuous diseases, transmitted by anthropods, including insects of which mosquitos, ticks and sandflies are the most important vectors (carriers). The most common clinical features of infection are fever, headache, and malaise. A number of these viruses can also cause encephalitis or hemorrhagic fever.
The Dengue virus is the most common pathogen of the arboviruses. Other important pathogens are Chikungunya, tick-born encephalitis, West Nile, Krim-Congo, yellow fever, Zika and Japanese encephalitis viruses.
Since 2014 ITM is gradually expanding its research portfolio on (re)emerging tropical viruses with a particular interest in arthropod-borne virus-host-vector molecular interactions, the development of new diagnostics and antivirals, and virus discovery. In this context, the Unit of Virology is part of the National Reference Centre (NRC) for Tropical Infectious Diseases and the NRC Arboviruses to support molecular virus diagnostics and serological diagnosis with virus neutralization assays.
In collaboration with the industry, ITM is currently developing new diagnostic tools for the simultaneous detection of a large number of arboviruses and hemorrhagic fever viruses. The unit is running collaborative projects in DR Congo, Peru and Cuba to look at arbovirus prevalence, the development and evaluation of new diagnostic tests and Dengue virus - host interactions.