mosquito-on-human-skin-arboviruses

Arboviruses

Arboviruses such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika are urgent public health threats in tropical and subtropical areas.

An increasing threat for global health

Arboviruses are viral infectious diseases transmitted by arthropods. These include insects of which mosquitoes, ticks and sand flies are the most important vectors (carriers). The most common clinical features of infection are fever, headache and malaise. A number of viruses can also cause chronic polyarthralgia, encephalitis or hemorrhagic fever. The dengue virus is the most common pathogen of the arboviruses. Other important pathogens are chikungunya, tick-borne encephalitis, West Nile, Krim-Congo, yellow fever, Zika and Japanese encephalitis viruses.

Since 2014, ITM has gradually expanded its research portfolio on (re)emerging tropical viruses, with a particular interest in:

  • molecular interactions between virus, host and vector

  • (the development of) new diagnostic tools to be used in low resource settings and outbreak conditions

  • new antiviral strategies

  • virus discovery

Units

Labs

  • National Reference Centre for Arboviruses

  • National Reference Centre for Tropical Infectious Diseases

Discover our laboratories
arbovirus-health

What we do

In this context, the Virology Unit of ITM, part of the National Reference Centre (NRC) for Tropical Infectious Diseases and NRC for Arboviruses, supports molecular virus diagnostics and serological diagnosis with virus neutralisation assays. In collaboration with the industry, the unit is currently developing new diagnostic tools for the simultaneous detection of many arboviruses and hemorrhagic fever viruses. The unit is running collaborative projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Peru and Cuba, to study arbovirus prevalence and the development and evaluation of new diagnostic tests and interactions between the dengue virus and the host.

Research themes

  • antimicrobial-resistance-amr
    Bacteria have found various ways to develop resistance (AMR), of which resistance to antibiotics is a problem reaching across many different domains.
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    Tireless effort is crucial to eliminate human African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, in the world. For more than a century, ITM has been playing its part.
  • malaria-mosquito-net
    By combining efforts on biological, human and societal aspects of the disease, ITM hopes to control and ultimately eliminate malaria in the long term.
  • paulin-madingi-analyses-sample-of-sleeping-sickness-ntd-itm
    Neglected (tropical) diseases are high on the agenda. For many years, ITM has been actively involved in research on NTDs, in particular on leishmaniasis, leprosy and sleeping sickness.
  • vaccination-ctc
    Before vaccines or drugs can be used in the general population, their safety and effectiveness are thoroughly investigated in clinical trials.
  • hiv-test-positive-itm-clinics
    The research of ITM on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and AIDS is of inestimable value.
  • larval-sampling-MEMO
    For more than 10 years, ITM has been actively monitoring exotic mosquitoes in Belgium.
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    ITM is closely monitoring the development of the mpox disease, both in Belgium and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
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    We help improve sexual and reproductive health in the world by combining scientific research, advanced education, policy support and capacity-strengthening initiatives.
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    ITM’s research on tuberculosis (TB) is world-renowned. Its shorter combination treatment for resistant tuberculosis was a worldwide breakthrough. Our researchers study new diagnostics and case detection techniques, with the largest public collection of TB strains in the world at their disposal.
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    EcoHealth is an interdepartmental group that unites researchers from different backgrounds and disciplines. We all recognise the need for comprehensive, systemic approaches to address current health challenges that emerge at the interface between humans, animals and their broader natural, social and political environments.
  • blood-sample-sti-hiv-tests-policlinic-itm
    Since the beginning, ITM has been providing medical services to people returning ill from overseas. As such, ITM accumulated profound knowledge of tropical diseases, as well as STIs and HIV.
  • nazoanga-marche-antibiotics-study
    The right to health implies that everybody, everywhere should have access to the needed essential health products, included but not limited to diagnostics, vaccines and medicines.
  • sampling-research-ethics-itm
    Clinical, epidemiological and diagnostics studies, secondary analyses of health data and BioSamples, behavioural studies or any other studies that involve the participation of human individuals, should yield social value and be scientifically justified and ethically sound.
  • outbreak-guinea-ebola
    In a highly interconnected world, ITM continues to innovate and develop its outbreak research capacity.
  • covid-19-itm-envelope-1
    ITM has decades of experience fighting infectious diseases and curbing epidemics. We are fully committed to helping stop the COVID-19 pandemic that is threatening the world. To this end, we work together with partners at home and abroad.
  • said-centre-de-traitement-ebola
    Ebola is a deadly disease that was co-discovered in 1976 by researchers of the institute. ITM has been closely monitoring subsequent outbreaks on the African continent, as well as contributing to new developments in diagnostics and treatment.