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Biosafety Level 4 Virological Laboratory and Research Center

Description of the RI

The main profile of the Virological Research Center is the extensive research of animal-to-human viral zoonoses that pose a threat to humanity, which includes their full understanding, research into therapeutic options and active support for disease prevention measures. Humanity is being hit more and more frequently and large-scale epidemics may occur. Therefore, the results of the Center’s research support the fight against epidemics along the lines of cognition, prevention and response. Due to the many side effects of global warming and the scale and change of the human habitat, the viruses carried by animals pose an increasing threat to health and epidemiology. Pathogens causing severe epidemics are appearing more and more frequently due to various global activities. For this reason, one of the aims of the Virological Research Center is to detect known and new pathogens in samples from Hungary and from international collaborations; assessment of their frequency; detailed characterization of their genetics stock; and a better understanding of the mechanism of viral infection. Their research focuses primarily on rodent and bat populations, but also places serious emphasis on mosquitoes, ticks, and other arthropod vectors. The Center has established collaborations with public, veterinary and industrial actors, one of the outcomes of which is the elaboration and development of a wide range of diagnostic options for the pathogens they study. Through their diversified activities, they are actively involved in both basic and applied research. The scientific activity of the Center is based on three closely related pillars: i) detection and identification of new pathogens, characterization of virological and molecular biology; (ii) complex testing of viruses in risk groups 3 and 4 under BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratory conditions; iii) establishment of a national and international level education and training center.

Activities and Services

Due to its specific, high level facilities, Virological Research Center has a unique asset in Hungary. Accordingly, it is capable of conducting experiments requiring Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2), Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) and as the only academically supported unit in Hungary, it is also capable of covering Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) standards to uniquely combat infectious diseases in the area. Virological Research Center is a distinctive research facility not only nationally, but internationally, in particular when extending its professional services to the international network regarding research, grants and R&D cooperation. Currently, the University of Pécs possesses the only virological research laboratory in Hungary that was established purely for research purposes and not for performing epidemiological tasks. Because of Virological Research Center unit is unparalleled throughout the country, the colleagues wishing to pursue research in the field of virology do not need to seek experience abroad, since the Center offer all opportunities to achieve these very same goals. In addition to research, the Centre's range of services is considerable, capable of performing high-level conventional virological and modern molecular biological technics, isolating BSL-2, BSL-3 and BSL-4 viruses, examining gene functions, determining signal transduction pathways, and performing whole genome-based studies and bioinformatics analyses.

Health and Food

Single sited

University of Pécs
Szentágothai Research Centre


Fully operational, 2012–

  • Hungarian European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (HECRIN)
  • National Laboratory of Virology
  • National Laboratory of Biotechnology


With RIs
  • European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents (ERINHA)
  • European Life Science Infrastructure for Biological Information (ELIXIR)

Institutional partners
  • Boston University, National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), USA)
  • Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), USA
  • United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious (USAMRIID), USA
  • University of Kent, UK
  • Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM), Germany

Ferenc Jakab, leader of the Virological Research Center

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