The Department of Virology of the Erasmus MC is:
- reference centre for the WHO on viral infections and Measles & Rubella,
- National Reference Centre for Influenza and Emerging Infections in The Netherlands and
- EU contact for Emerging Viral Infections.
Activities as WHO Collaborating Centre (WHO-CC)
Main activity of the Department of Virology as WHO Collaborating Centre will be to support outbreak response operations during outbreaks of Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens coordinated by WHO. Examples of this are the contributions of the department in identifying the cause of SARS and MERS coronavirus, the studies unraveling the role of camels as sources MERS COV, support in investigations of Zika virus in Surinam and Brazil, and the operation of mobile laboratories during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The Department of Virology will be using classical and newly developed state-of-the-art technology to identify known or new viral pathogens. This is possible because the Department of Virology has a wide-array of serological and molecular tests to identify known pathogens. Random priming sequencing technology is also available for unknown agents.
During response operations to outbreaks of Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens coordinated by WHO, the Department of Virology will be contacted by WHO to provide onsite laboratory diagnostic support with staff and equipment when possible. The field deployment of lab equipment or staff will be coordinated with WHO and partners involved in control operations. Depending on incriminated pathogen, the Department of Virology will provide lab diagnostic technology to rapidly, safely and accurately diagnose patient and support Surveillance, Case management and research projects.
The Department of Virology will also provide technical support to National laboratories by providing (in limited quantities) reagents and diagnostic methods to national reference laboratories.