National Biological Defense Program

1. State the objectives and funding of each programme and summarize the principal research and development activities conducted in the programme. Areas to be addressed shall include: prophylaxis, studies on pathogenicity and virulence, diagnostic techniques, aerobiology, detection, treatment, toxinology, physical protection, decontamination and other related research.

The objective is to establish national biological defense proficiency by developing and improving precise and accurate tests for the rapid diagnosis as well as for identification, including characterzation, of different biological agents and toxins using various methods. Spiez Laboratory is assigned to fulfill this task and to close any gaps to reach national biological defense excellence. To improve the national biological defense capabilities of Switzerland, Spiez Laboratory has funds available to run a dedicated program with the goal of added research and development mainly benefitting detection, diagnostic and identification techniques. A major part of the program is conducted under contract with national and international industries, academic institutions as well as domestic and foreign governmental agencies, as detailed in paragraph 5.

Spiez Laboratory is part of the Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP within the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports DDPS of the Swiss Confederation. Spiez Laboratory is the Swiss center of expertise in protection against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) threats and hazards. Besides delivering its expertise to relevant stakeholders, the Biology Division of Spiez Laboratory is concerned with the identification of biological agents and toxins, as well as supports military biological protection units. The Biology Division has three main branches that are engaged in the fields of virology, bacteriology and toxinology, respectively.

Spiez Laboratory possesses a high containment facility that allows for the safe handling of biological agents of all risk groups. It is the only BSL4 high containment facility in Switzerland holding a license which is not limited to diagnostic purposes. It serves towards the comprehensive detection and identification of human pathogens. This enables Spiez Laboratory to act in the Regional Laboratory Network as both a Regional Competence Center and as a National Reference Center / National Reference Laboratory having all necessary capabilities and capacities at hand.

For additional information and more on the vision of a world without weapons of mass destruction please visit:

3. Are aspects of these programmes conducted under contract with industry, academic institutions, or in other non-defence facilities?
4. If yes, what proportion of the total funds for each programme is expended in these contracted or other facilities?

10 %

5. Summarize the objectives and research areas of each programme performed by contractors and in other facilities with the funds identified under paragraph 4.

All contracted research and development of the program is supervised by Spiez Laboratory. Please also refer to paragraph 1 above for additional details. The contractors part of the program in 2018 were as follows:

  • Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich – ETHZ
    Functional Genomics Center Zurich – FGCZ
    Winterthurerstrasse 190
    CH-8057 Zürich
    Project title:  „Next Generation Sequencing“
  • Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich – ETHZ
    Center for Security Studies – CSS
    Haldeneggsteig 4, IFW
    CH-8092 Zürich
    Project title:  „Analysis of trends in science and policy“
  • Medizinische Hochschule Hannover – MHH
    Institut für Toxikologie
    Carl-Neuberg-Strasse 1
    DE-30625 Hannover
    Project title:  „Development of recombinant botulinum neurotoxins and assessing proteolytic stability and transepithelial transport”
  • Universität Bern – UniBE
    Institut für Infektionskrankheiten – IFIK
    Friedbühlstrasse 51
    CH-3010 Bern
    Project title:  „Next Generation Sequencing“
  • Universität Bern – UniBE
    Interfaculty Bioinformatics Unit – IBU
    Baltzerstrasse 6
    CH-3012 Bern
    Project title:  „Comparative genome-based analysis of Naegleria“
  • Université de Lausanne / Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois – Unil / CHUV
    Institut de microbiologie – IMUL
    Rue du Bugnon 48
    CH-1011 Lausanne
    Project title:  „Assessment of tenacity of highly pathogenic viruses and evaluation of inactivation strategies for clinical samples and contaminated materials”
    Project title:  „Evaluation of an immune response against Ebolavirus after vaccination”
    Project title:  „Identification and evaluation of antiviral substances against Hantavirus infections”
  • Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften – ZHAW
    Institut für Chemie und Biologische Chemie – ICBC
    Einsiedlerstrasse 31
    CH-8820 Wädenswil
    Project title:  „Detection of proteinaceous toxins“
6. Provide a diagram of the organizational structure of each programme and the reporting relationships (include individual facilities participating in the programme).



Diagram Upload
7. Provide a declaration in accordance with Form A, part 2 (iii) for each facility, both governmental and non-governmental, which has a substantial proportion of its resources devoted to each national biological defence research and development programme, within the territory of the reporting State, or under its jurisdiction or control anywhere.

Please refer to Form A, part 2 (iii).