Labor Spiez (Spiez Laboratory)

2. Where is it located (include both address and geographical location)?

Labor Spiez, Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz, Eidgenössisches Departement für Verteidigung, Bevölkerungsschutz und Sport, Austrasse, CH-3700 Spiez, Switzerland

N 46° 41' 26.32", E 7° 38' 39.41"

3. Floor area of laboratory areas by containment level
BL 4 , 118.00 SqM
Of note, the BSL4 unit is operational and holds a license as follows: “Development of methods to detect and analyze viral pathogens of risk group 4 (clinical samples, environmental samples, including samples suspect of bioterrorism origin) as well as evaluation of antiviral substances, neutralizing antibodies and decontamination solutions”.
BL 3 , 126.00 SqM
BL 2 , 483.00 SqM
Total laboratory floor area (SqM)

4. The organizational structure of each facility

(viii) Briefly describe the publication policy of the facility

Publication in open literature.

(ix) Provide a list of publicly-available papers and reports resulting from the work published during the previous 12 months. (To include authors, titles and full references)

Ackermann-Gäumann R, Eyer C, Leib SL, Niederhauser C. Comparison of Four Commercial IgG-Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays for the Detection of Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus Antibodies. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2018 Dec 4. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2018.2359. [Epub ahead of print].

Ackermann-Gäumann R, Siegrist D, Züst R, Signer J, Lenz N, Engler O. Standardized focus assay protocol for biosafety level four viruses. J Virol Methods. 2019 Feb;264:51-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2018.12.002. Epub 2018 Dec 1.

Ackermann-Gäumann R, Tritten ML, Hassan M, Lienhard R. Comparison of three commercial IgG and IgM ELISA kits for the detection of tick-borne encephalitis virus antibodies. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2018 May;9(4):956-962. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2018.03.031. Epub 2018 Mar 28.

García-Nicolás O, V'kovski P, Vielle NJ, Ebert N, Züst R, Portmann J, Stalder H, Gaschen V, Vieyres G, Stoffel M, Schweizer M, Summerfield A, Engler O, Pietschmann T, Todt D, Alves MP, Thiel V, Pfaender S. The Small-Compound Inhibitor K22 Displays Broad Antiviral Activity against Different Members of the Family Flaviviridae and Offers Potential as a Panviral Inhibitor. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2018 Oct 24;62(11). pii: e01206-18. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01206-18. Print 2018 Nov.

Huttner A, Agnandji ST, Combescure C, Fernandes JF, Bache EB, Kabwende L, Ndungu FM, Brosnahan J, Monath TP, Lemaître B, Grillet S, Botto M, Engler O, Portmann J, Siegrist D, Bejon P, Silvera P, Kremsner P, Siegrist CA; VEBCON; VSV-EBOVAC; VSV-EBOPLUS Consortia. Determinants of antibody persistence across doses and continents after single-dose rVSV-ZEBOV vaccination for Ebola virus disease: an observational cohort study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2018 Jul;18(7):738-748. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30165-8. Epub 2018 Apr 5.

Kuenzli AB, Marschall J, Schefold JC, Schafer M, Engler OB, Ackermann-Gäumann R, Reineke DC, Suter-Riniker F, Staehelin C. Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome Due to Imported Andes Hantavirus Infection in Switzerland: A Multidisciplinary Challenge, Two Cases and a Literature Review. Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Nov 13;67(11):1788-1795. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy443.

Lentzos F, Invernizzi C. DNA Origami: Unfolding Risk? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist. Analysis. 2018 Jan 25.

Lenz N, Engler O, Grandgirard D, Leib SL, Ackermann-Gäumann R. Evaluation of antivirals against tick-borne encephalitis virus in organotypic brain slices of rat cerebellum. PLoS One. 2018 Oct 9;13(10):e0205294. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205294. eCollection 2018.

Liechti N, Schürch N, Bruggmann R, Wittwer M. The genome of Naegleria lovaniensis, the basis for a comparative approach to unravel pathogenicity factors of the human pathogenic amoeba N. fowleri. BMC Genomics. 2018 Sep 5;19(1):654. doi: 10.1186/s12864-018-4994-1.

Luedin SM, Pothier JF, Danza F, Storelli N, Frigaard NU, Wittwer M, Tonolla M. Complete genome sequence of "Thiodictyon syntrophicum" sp. nov. strain Cad16T, a photolithoautotrophic purple sulfur bacterium isolated from the alpine meromictic Lake Cadagno. Stand Genomic Sci. 2018 May 9;13:14. doi: 10.1186/s40793-018-0317-z. eCollection 2018.

Oechslin CP, Lenz N, Liechti N, Ryter S, Agyeman P, Bruggmann R, Leib SL, Beuret CM. Limited Correlation of Shotgun Metagenomics Following Host Depletion and Routine Diagnostics for Viruses and Bacteria in Low Concentrated Surrogate and Clinical Samples. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2018 Oct 23;8:375. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2018.00375. eCollection 2018.

Pilloux L, Baumgartner A, Jaton K, Lienhard R, Ackermann-Gäumann R, Beuret C, Greub G. Prevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Coxiella burnetii in Ixodes ricinus ticks in Switzerland: an underestimated epidemiologic risk. New Microbes New Infect. 2018 Sep 6;27:22-26. doi: 10.1016/j.nmni.2018.08.017. eCollection 2019 Jan.

Remy MM, Alfter M, Chiem MN, Barbani MT, Engler OB, Suter-Riniker F. Effective chemical virus inactivation of patient serum compatible with accurate serodiagnosis of infections. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2018 Oct 28. pii: S1198-743X(18)30721-3. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2018.10.016. [Epub ahead of print].

Rusterholz S, Fiechter R, Eriksson U, Altpeter E, Wittwer M, Schürch N, Karrer U, Hofer D. Tularämie – eine seltene Ursache der Pneumonie. Swiss Medical Forum. 2018;18(32):636–640.

Torriani G, Trofimenko E, Mayor J, Fedeli C, Moreno H, Michel S, Heulot M, Chevalier N, Zimmer G, Shrestha N, Plattet P, Engler O, Rothenberger S, Widmann C, Kunz S. Identification of clotrimazole-derivatives as specific inhibitors of Arenavirus fusion. J Virol. 2019 Jan 9. pii: JVI.01744-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01744-18. [Epub ahead of print].

van der Hoek L, Verschoor E, Beer M, Höper D, Wernike K, Van Ranst M, Matthijnssens J, Maes P, Sastre P, Rueda P, Drexler JF, Barr J, Edwards T, Millner P, Vermeij P, de Groof A, Thiel V, Dijkman R, Suter-Riniker F, Leib S, Koller R, Ramette A, Engler O, Beuret C. Host switching pathogens, infectious outbreaks and zoonosis: A Marie Skłodowska-Curie innovative training network (HONOURs). Virus Res. 2018 Sep 15;257:120-124. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2018.09.002.

Wittwer M, Altpeter E, Pilo P, Gygli SM, Beuret C, Foucault F, Ackermann-Gäumann R, Karrer U, Jacob D, Grunow R, Schürch N. Population Genomics of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica and its Implication on the Eco-Epidemiology of Tularemia in Switzerland. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2018 Mar 22;8:89. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2018.00089. eCollection 2018.

5. Briefly describe the biological defence work carried out at the facility, including type(s) of micro-organisms(9) and/or toxins studied, as well as outdoor studies of biological aerosols.

Spiez Laboratory, which is part of the Federal Department for Civil Protection, is the Swiss Center of Expertise in NBC Protection. Its Biology Division has a range of activities including research, development, test & evaluation, training, as well as diagnosis in the fields of virology, bacteriology, toxinology and biosafety. The tasks include analysis of unknown samples, diagnostics and identification of potential biological warfare and bioterror agents, food and water analysis for the Swiss Armed Forces, and research & development in coordination with contractors. Spiez Laboratory deals with many different biological agents and toxins known to be pathogenic for humans.

Spiez Laboratory is also a National Reference Center mandated by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and a National Reference Laboratory mandated by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office as follows:

  • National Reference Center for Anthrax
    • Bacillus anthracis (anthrax)
    • Francisella tularensis (tularemia)
    • Yersinia pestis (plague)
    • Brucella spp. (brucellosis)
    • Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis)
    • Clostridium botulinum (botulism)
    • other bacterial pathogens according to requirements of the national coordination committee of the Regional Laboratory Network
  • National Reference Center for Tick-Transmitted Diseases
    • Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBE)
    • Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)
    • Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. (Lyme disease)
    • Other rare / emerging tick-transmitted pathogens
  • National Reference Laboratory for Staphylococcus enterotoxins
    • Staphylococcus enterotoxin B
    • other Staphylococcus enterotoxins

In addition, Spiez Laboratory supports the National Reference Center for Emerging Viral Infections responsible for the detection of emerging and reemerging viruses of all biosafety levels, especially hemorrhagic fever viruses and variola virus.

Spiez Laboratory's Biology Division holds an accreditation by the Swiss Accreditation Service as "Testing laboratory for the detection of biological agents" (STS 0054) according to the international standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005.

For additional information please visit:

(9) Including viruses and prions.