Eidgenössisches Departement des Inneren  Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI)

The Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) in the Eidgenössisches Departement des Inneren is the Swiss reference laboratory for diagnosis, surveillance and control of highly infectious animal diseases, and the Swiss reference laboratory for Rabies. The IVI investigates the emergence of new diseases in animals and their potential for transmission to humans. It is the Swiss approval authority for animal vaccines and sera. The IVI is part of the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO). Since January 2014, the IVI has two sites, in Bern (former Institute of Veterinary Virology) and Mittelhäusern. Through a cooperation with the University of Bern, the IVI is embedded in the Dep. of Infect. Diseases and Pathobiology, University of Bern, and responsible for teaching and basic research in Virology and Immunology. The laboratories in Bern include BSL2 labs and in Mittelhäusern there is a high containment facility allowing experimental work on human BSL3+ and animal BSL4 pathogens. Both sites are fully equipped (PCR, FACS, confocal laser microscopy ect.) to perform molecular analyses of viral pathogens in vitro and in vivo. In addition the IVI has access to numerous core facilities and services at the University of Bern (e.g. NGS; advanced microscopy)

Web page: www.ivi.unibe.ch/research/index_eng.html

Key publications

  • Lundin A et al. Targeting membrane-bound viral RNA synthesis reveals potent inhibition of diverse coronaviruses including the middle East respiratory syndrome virus. PLoS Pathog. 2014. 10:e1004166.
  • Kindler E and V. Thiel. To sense or not to sense viral RNA--essentials of coronavirus innate immune evasion. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2014. 20:69-75.
  • Raj VS et al. Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 is a functional receptor for the emerging human coronavirus-EMC. Nature. 2013. 495:251-4.
  • Kindler E et al. Efficient Replication of the Novel Human Betacoronavirus EMC on Primary Human Epithelium Highlights Its Zoonotic Potential. MBio. 2013. 4:e00611-12.
  • Züst R et al. Ribose 2'-O-methylation provides a molecular signature for the distinction of self and non-self mRNA dependent on the RNA sensor Mda5. Nat Immunol. 2011. 12:137-43.

Staff involved in HONOURs

Prof dr. Volker Thiel


Prof dr. Volker Thiel (WP4-leader) has an educational background in molecular biology, virology and immunology. His research interests are to understand the molecular biology of RNA viruses, their interactions with their hosts, and particularly the viral and host cell specific determinants of virus pathogenesis and cross species infection. Volker Thiel will be the principal supervisor of ESR-5 and ESR-7.

Dr. Ronald Dijkman


Dr. Ronald Dijkman is an expert on airway epithelia culture systems will be involved in daily supervision of ESR-5 and ESR-7 and assist on secondments and teaching at the HONOURS training activities.


Host switching pathogens, infectious outbreaks and zoonosis; a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 721367.