Institut für Virologie und Immunologie (Institute of Virology and Immunology)

[Declared in accordance with Form A Part 2(iii)]

2. Responsible public or private organization or company
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, Federal Department of Home Affairs
3. Location and postal address
Institut für Virologie und Immunologie, Bundesamt für Lebensmittelsicherheit und Veterinärwesen, Eidgenössisches Departement des Innern, Sensemattstrasse 293, CH-3147 Mittelhäusern, Switzerland
4. Source(s) of financing of the reported activity, including indication if the activity is wholly or partly financed by the Ministry of Defence

Swiss Confederation (Federal Department of Home Affairs)

5. Number of maximum containment units5 within the research centre and/or laboratory, with an indication of their respective size (SqM):
ABL 3 Ag , 10.000.00 SqM
Of note, ABL3Ag facilities have special features not comparable to standard BSL3 or BSL4 facilities. The shell is considered BSL4, whereas inside the containment area BSL1, BSL2 and BSL3 space is common standard. Personnel enters through a shower barrier and is provided with suitable laboratory clothing for BSL1, 2 and 3 inside the containment area. Personnel has to shower out when leaving the containment area and has to keep a 72h quarantine (no contact to cloven hoofed animals). The IVI fulfills the requirements of the EU Minimum Biorisk Management Standards for Laboratories Working with Foot-And-Mouth Disease Virus. Due to these special features of ABL3Ag facilities, the ABL3Ag area is not limited to laboratory units only, but also includes engineering floors such as effluent treatment plant or ventilation units and animal units, which are all located within the containment area. Therefore, all maintenance work has to be done during operation – the facility has never been shut down so far. This also means that a direct comparison with BSL4 facilities is not practicable. Licenses are as follows: “Study of African swine fever immunopathogenesis in domestic pigs“; “Quality controls of immuno-biological products for use in applications of veterinary medicine”; “Establishment of a cell-based rapid test to determine protection provided by vaccination against foot-and-mouth disease virus”; “Peste des petits ruminants virulence“.
BL 3 , 100.00 SqM
BL 2 , 600.00 SqM
6. Scope and general description of activities, including type(s) of micro-organisms and/or toxins as appropriate

The Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI), which is part of the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, is the ISO 17025 accredited institute for the diagnosis, surveillance and control of highly contagious epizootics. As such the IVI is the national reference laboratory for >25 pathogens. In addition, the IVI pursues research both on these viruses and emerging viral diseases, as well as their potential transmission to man. The IVI is also the competent authority issuing the licenses required for the sale of veterinary immunobiological products. Basic research is carried out in the fields of immunology and virology, and involves influenza virus, foot-and-mouth disease virus, African swine fever virus and new emergent viruses with zoonotic potential. An important research topic in 2022 was SARS-CoV-2. The development and diagnostics branches focus on assays and tests for various viral animal diseases. Through the cooperation with the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Bern, the IVI is also responsible for the teaching of virology and immunology.

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(4) For facilities with maximum containment units participating in the national biological defence research and development programme, please fill in name of facility and mark "Declared in accordance with Form A, part 2 (iii)".

(5) In accordance with the latest edition of the WHO Laboratory Biosafety Manual, or equivalent.