Core Partner, BSL3, EU


Aix-Marseille University (AMU) is now the largest French-speaking university, which gathers more than 78,000 students including 10,000 international students, 8,000 faculty and staff members, 12 doctoral schools and nearly 3,300 PhD students. Aix-Marseille University is home to 132 research facilities - 118 research units and 14 federative research structures linked to France's biggest institutions (CNRS, INSERM, IRD, INRA, CEA). At the last international Shanghai ranking published in August 2017, AMU is ranked 102 (+ 10 places) over the world's 500 ranked universities and 5th among French universities.

The "Unité des Virus Emergents" ("UVE", Aix-Marseille University)
The "UVE" is a joint joint Research Unit between Aix Marseille University, IRD and Inserm. UVE gathers medical virologists and basic research scientists, and is organised around 3 research axes centered on arthropod-borne viruses: (1) Emergence and genomics of RNA viruses, (2) Eco-epidemiology of viral infections in southern countries with particular interest in Laos and Medirerranean countries; (3) Antivirals therapy including vaccination. Methodologies available at are: (1) cell culture and virus culture (BSL2 and BSL3); (2) Genomics based on Next-Generation Sequencing platform; (3) Reverse genetics on Flaviviruses and Alphaviruses (4) Screening of antivirals in cell cultures; (5) Molecular and serological diagnosis in medical virology. Facilities include standard molecular biology/immunology/cellular biology facilities, BSL2/BSL3/BSL3+ laboratories, animal facilities (A3). Since 2008, EPV has produced more than 350 articles in peer-reviewed journals. It has discovered/isolated new viruses in the genus Flavivirus, Phlebovirus, Arenavirus. It has set-up the original European Virus Archive (EVA) and the European Virus Archive goes global (EVAg) programs subsequently funded by EU with partners from other EU and non-EU countries.
Experience of the team involved in the project:

  • Conceived, launched and managed the first EVA EU programme. Large experience in virus biobanking, full-genome sequencing, long-term preservation technologies, virus distribution to academics.
  • Operation of BSL3 and BSL3+4 laboratories to investigate BSL3 pathogenic viruses (including a number of agents with specifically restricted use, e.g., Rift Valley Fever virus).
  • Routine diagnostic service for 70+ human viral pathogens, including tropical viruses.
  • Performing research programmes on emerging viruses; e.g.,dengue, Japanese encephalitis, chikungunya, influenza, phleboviruses...
  • Investigation of evolution of positive-stranded RNA viruses and genomic re-encoding-based attenuation
  • Recombinant protein and antibody production, structural virology
  • Deploying research facilities and equipment in developing countries with the support and expertise of IRD

AMU is deeply involved in capacity, research and management aspects of the programme. In particular, AMU will provide:

  • -Management of the project
  • -Leadership of the activity dedicated to the collection of viruses and derived products
  • -Leadership of some of the activities dedicated to the market development
  • -Leadership of the activity dedicated to TNA access to viruses and derived products, and to the EVA web portal