Research Group Translational Virology

The "Translational Virology" junior research group deals with virological questions which arise in clinical practice and aims to adressthese by means of molecular-virological techniques.  The results should help to improve diagnostics or therapy in the clinic. To fulfil this goal, there is a very close interaction with the Hannover Medical School.

Our thematic focus is on the hepatitis E virus (HEV), the most common viral trigger of acute liver inflammation. The virus has grown in importance in Germany in recent years. In 2018 it was found that HEV affects a large number of people in Germany. One in about 800 to 1000 blood donors is infected with hepatitis E. The Robert Koch Institute estimates that around 420,000 people in Germany have contact with the virus every year. However, research on HEV is still in its infancy.

In order to tackle these gaps in knowledge, an efficient cell culture system has been developed in recent years, which allows understanding and modification of each step of the viral life-cycle. In close cooperation with national and international cooperation partners, we have investigated the influence of different drugs, which were clinically associated with a severe HEV infection, on the life cycle of the virus. We are currently testing the activity of various hand disinfectants for their ability to inactivate the virus, which will have implications for hygienic practice. In addition, the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) supports the analysis of viral factors and their influence on the clinical course of an infection. In the future, this should allow to predict the clinical course of infection at time of diagnosis.