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JKI becomes core partner of the European Virus Archive Global EVAg

Electron microscope image of Tobamovirus particles, magnified 21,000 times. ©Katja Richert-Pöggeler/JKI

Step by step, plant viruses are now also being added to the digital catalogue, which was previously only focused on human and animal pathogenic viruses. The JKI contributes its collection of viruses that infect cultivated plants.

If you are looking for information about the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the current COVID-19 pandemic, you will quickly find it on the website of the European Virus Archive Global (EVAg). The digital catalogue offers freely accessible data on human and animal pathogenic viruses and enables partners from science, industry and health authorities around the world to acquire virus samples, cell cultures and other materials for their research.

In the EU project EVA-GLOBAL, which has just been launched, plant viruses are now also included in the catalogue. As a partner of the project, the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) will add its collection of plant viruses. These include well-known viruses with historical significance, such as the tobacco mosaic virus, which was not only the first pathogen to be called a "virus" (1898), but still functions as an important model system in biology today. "But we are also bringing current pathogens of plant diseases into the European Virus Archive, such as new types of nanovirus, which are a focus of JKI research," says Dr. Katja Richert-Pöggeler, who supervises the electron microscopic investigations at the JKI Institute of Epidemiology and Pathogen Diagnostics.

Since the beginning of this year (2020), JKI researchers have been compiling the key data on the viruses to be added to the catalogue. These include information on the origin of the pathogen, classification, host plants and, where they exist, sequence data on the genome. Dr. Richert-Pöggeler explains the commitment: "The networking of the research community as well as the rapid access to information and research materials shall contribute to better control of virus outbreaks all over the world."  The first plant viruses are to be put online at EVAg at the end of April. The website can be reached here: https://www.european-virus-archive.com/

Background

Academic institutions in the field of virology and international institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are involved in EVA-Global. With the Julius Kühn Institute and the Friedrich Löffler Institute, two departmental research institutes of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) are partners of the project as well. EVA-Global is financed within the framework of the EU research programme Horizon 2020.

Contact

Dr. Katja Richert-Pöggeler
Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Institute of Epidemiology and Pathogen Diagnostics
Messeweg 11-12
38104 Braunschweig, Germany
Tel.: 0531 299 3730 | E-Mail: katja.richert-poeggeler@  julius-kuehn.  de