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Dual use of highly pathogenic microbes


December 9, 2014

Lang EN Workshop language is English
Responsable de l'activité

Stefan Kunz


Prof. Stephen Leib, Spiez Laboratory

Dr. Marc Strasser, Spiez Laboratory

Dr. Oliver Engler, Spiez Laboratory

Prof. Stefan Kunz, University Hospital Center Lausanne

Dr. Sylvia Rothenberger, Program Coordinator CUSO


Dr. Urs Pauli

Institute of Virology and Immunoprophylaxis, Mittelhäusern

Dr. Cedric Invernizzi

Bundesamit für Bevölkerungsschutz

Prof. Pascal Meylan

Lausanne University Hospital and University of Lausanne



Pathogenic viruses and bacteria that cause incurable diseases with high mortality in humans and animals represent a major challenge for current microbiology research. Based on their disease potential and biological properties, accidental or intentional release of such highly pathogenic microbes represents a serious threat for human populations and agriculture. This CUSO workshop organized by LABOR SPIEZ will cover basic concepts of biological risk evaluation and in particular address the important problem of “dual use” of highly pathogenic microbes. The goal of this workshop is to sensitize the awareness of our Ph.D. students for biological risks and the “dual use” problematic they may encounter during their research activity in microbiology. This will be achieved by combining presentations on the basic concepts of biosafety combined with an interactive exercise in which students will evaluate a microbiology research project under the aspect of biological risk assessment and “dual use” problems with the help of biosafety experts


The first part of the workshop (morning session) will provide the basic concepts of biosafety and biological risk evaluation for human and animal pathogens. This will be followed by a talk highlighting the important problem of “dual use” of pathogenic microbes and cover existing guidelines and legislation.


The afternoon session will consist of three parallel interactive breakout sessions in which biosafety experts will work with students on different biosafety aspects of a concrete microbiology research project, including biological risk evaluation, the challenge of biosafety associated with animal pathogens, and the problem of “dual use”. Each breakout session will be coached by two biosafety experts and include a maximum of four groups of two Ph.D. students each. The students will receive the description of a specific research project in microbiology together with a research article and a more general review on the topic from the experts at least two month before the workshop. Topics will include the study and the generation of novel pathogenic microbes that are a potential threat for humans, agriculture, and/or the environment. The students will prepare a draft of a presentation of their project with particular consideration of biosafety issues. At the meeting ample time (2 hours) will be allocated for interactive work with the biosafety experts to prepare a final short presentation (8 minutes of presentation + 4 minutes of discussion). In the following interactive session, the students will present their projects to the experts and the other participants of the breakout session, who will evaluate the presentations and give feedback.



9:30 -10:00 Welcome Coffee

10:00 Presentation of the program




10:10 – 10:55 Basic concept of biosafety

Prof. Pascal Meylan, Lausanne University Hospitaland University of Lausanne


10:55 – 11:30 Biosafety in agriculture and animals

Dr Urs Pauli, Institute of Virology and Immunoprophylaxis, Mittelhäusern


11:30 – 12:05 The problem of “dual use” of highly pathogenic microbes

Dr. Cedric Invernizzi, Bundesamit für Bevölkerungsschutz


Lunch:   12:10 – 13:15




13:15 – 17:00 Breakout sessions


Session 1: Biosafety risk evaluation


Session 2: Biosafety challenges of animal pathogens


Session 3: The risks and problems of “dual use”


13:15 – 15:15 Preparative work of students with experts in groups


Coffee Break


15:30 -17:00 Presentation of projects with round-table discussion


17:00 Conclusion of Workshop



Session 1: Biosafety risk evalutation: Prof. Pascal Meylan & Prof. Stefan Kunz

RS 814.912 Ordonnance du 9 mai 2012 sur l’utilisation des organismes en milieu confiné (Ordonnance sur l’utilisation confinée, OUC)

Meylan Project 1: Group A streptococcus expressing S.aureus pigment

1 Project description_Meylan1

1 Publication_project_Meylan1

1 Background project Meylan1

Meylan Project 2: production of a Botulineum neurotoxin vaccine candidate

2 Project description_Meylan2

2 Publication_project_Meylan2a

2 Publication_project_Meylan2b

2 Background project Meylan2

Kunz project 1: A highly pathogenic emerging virus: Sin Nombre Hantavirus

1 Project description _Kunz1

1 Background_project_Kunz1

1 Publication_project_Kunz1

Kunz Project 2: Therapy for Ebola virus disease with monoclonal antibodies (ZMapp)

2 Project description_Kunz2

2 Background_project_Kunz2

2 Publication_project_Kunz2a

2 Publication_project_Kunz2b


Session 2: Biosafety challenges of animal pathogens: Dr.  Urs Pauli

Background information

Document 1

Document 2

Document 3

Case study N°1: Classical Swine fever

1_case study 1-description research project

1_Fact sheet_CSF



Case study N°2: H2N2

2-case study 2-description research project

2_Fact sheet_Influenza




Case study N°3: Foot and Mouth disease

3_Case study 3- description of research project

3_Fact sheet_FMD


Case study N°4: Rinderpest

4_Case study 4-research project description

4_Fact sheet_Rinderpest







Session 3: The risks and problems of "Dual use": Dr. Cédric Invernizzi

Dual use case studies: GENERAL INFORMATION and description of the cases

Background information

Case study N°1: The mousepox case study-How to render a vaccine ineffective

1 Background information

1 Publication

Case study N°2: The vaccinia case study-How to render a vaccine virulent

2 Background information

2 Publication

Case study N°3: The 1918 influenza case study-How to revive an extinct pandemic pathogen

3 Background information

3 Publication




Labor Spiez, Spiez, BE




recommanded: 1 ECTS



Deadline for registration 01.12.2014
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