Project leader is Dr. Albert Bosch of the University of Barcelona (UB). He is head of the Enteric Virus Group of the Department of Microbiology, which has been involved since 1979 in research on environmental virology, and particularly on the development of procedures for the detection and characterisation of human enteric viruses, notably astrovirus, rotavirus and hepatitis A virus. The stability of enteric viruses under natural and disinfection conditions is also a major research subject for the group. Research on hepatitis A virus started in 1986, covering many aspects of clinical, environmental and basic biology of the virus. Current tasks of the group include studies of viral safety assessment, which comprise standardised determination of HAV in blood derivatives. On the other hand, the group has been actively involved in the production of synthetic and recombinant hepatitis A virus immunogens.The Enteric Virus Group of the UB was the first university laboratory in Spain to receive the certification of Good Laboratory Practices compliance for validation studies of viral safety.


Key persons in REFHEPA:

Prof. Rosa M. Pintó, UB, associate professor of Microbiology, with wide experience in molecular virology of enteric viruses and leader of several projects on hepatitis A virus, some of them related with the development of diagnostic procedures.

Dr. F. Xavier Abad, UB, is a high grade technician who has been involved in numerous studies on environmental virology, notably on virus survival.

Dr. Susana Guix, UB, is a post-doc in the department of Microbiology, who completed her Ph. D. on molecular virology of astroviruses in 2003, and is proficient on gastroenteritis viruses.


Dr. Soizick Le Guyader is a molecular virologist, at IFREMER, Nantes. Her expertise is in human enteric virus detection in shellfish and environmental sample. Since several years she is working on norovirus detection and method optimisation.

Dr. Luciana Croci, from Italian National Institute of Health of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Rome, is in charge of research activities related to hygienic microbiological problems of food, particularly seafood products on the activity of NRL for microbiological contamination of mussels. Specially she has been dealing with the development of methods for determining pathogenic bacteria and enteric viruses in food and studies on the persistence and behaviour of enteric viruses in mussels subjected to different treatments.


Dr Dario De Medici, from Italian National Institute of Health of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Rome, has been involved in research activities concerning the microbiological problems of food products deriving from meat and meat product, fishing, eggs-product, and mineral water. Especially he has dealt with methods for determination of pathogen bacteria on food and biological molecular methods for determination the presence of enteric viruses (hepatitis A virus, enteroviruses and caliciviruses) in food (mainly in shellfish and vegetables).


Dr. Marion Koopmans of the Department of Virology of RIVM has several years of experience on virological and epidemiological research of enteric viruses in humans and animals. The group has developed molecular diagnostic and typing assays for different viruses (Norovirus, enterovirus, poliovirus), and used these in epidemiological studies to better understand their role as causes of illness in humans. In addition, they perform (molecular) virological surveillance of water quality, serves as WHO reference centre for polio-eradication, and assist regional public health laboratories and food inspection services in outbreak investigations.

Prof. Carl-Henrik von Bonsdorff has more than 20 years experience in clinical virology. Until 2002 he was leading the largest laboratory in diagnostic virology in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Finland. The laboratory constantly developed new "in house" methods for improved diagnostics. Lately the emphasis was heavily on sensitive genome-based methods (PCR). The methodologies have since 1997 been adapted to environmental virology with special emphasis of demonstrating enteric viruses from water and foodstuff as well as from patients. He has been and is participating in numerous projects on human viruses in the environment and their detection.