Institute of Virology Charité: Helmut Ruska House, photo: Charité
Institute of Virology Charité: Helmut Ruska House, photo: Charité

Institute of Virology of Charité

The Institue of Virology of CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin belongs to the CharitéCentrum for diagnostic and preventive laboratory medicine, in short: CC 5.

On the following pages the institute and its research are presented.

In addition, information is provided on activities in the areas of diagnostics, and teaching and learning.

Greetings from Christian Drosten, Head of Institute (click here)

After a year spent relocating labs from Bonn, including moving into a historical building while it was (and still is) being refurbished, I am happy to say that it feels like we are coming out of the eclipse and getting back to work. It is great to be at the heart of the German capital, in the middle of a thriving research community and a city full of culture and history.

Being in Berlin brings many new collaborations, contacts, and opportunities – it feels good to be welcomed and involved. Our research continues to focus on emerging viruses and viral emergence – the processes in evolution and ecology that lead to the appearance of real or perceived threats from viruses.

Protection against epidemic threats is a priority in an era of connectivity and change. It is a giant challenge for society, and will have to be guided by knowledge generated by broad involvement of the research community. At one of the largest medical centres in Europe, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of processes in biology and advise countermeasures in medicine and public health.

Christian Drosten

Human West Nile Virus case imported to Germany

West Nile Virus Tree with the new WNV found in Germany in 2018.
Maximum Likelihood phylogenetic analysis of complete coding sequence from the imported WNV case together with reference sequences. Bootstrap values (%) of 500 repetitive analyses are given next to the nodes. Taxon names of all reference sequences include GenBank accession number, strain, and lineage as defined before [1,2].

1 Barzon, L. et al. Clin Microbiol Infect 21, 1122 e1121-1110, doi:10.1016/j.cmi.2015.07.018 (2015).
2 Fall, G. et al. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 11, e0006078, doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0006078 (2017).

A patient hospitalized in Berlin since 18th August 2018 has been confirmed to have an infection with West Nile Virus (WNV). The infection was likely acquired during a holiday trip to Northern Italy (Venice area) after his return cerebrospinal fluid and blood samples taken on 28th of August tested positive for West Nile virus RNA.

In light of the recent increase of human West Nile virus cases in Southern Europe (see:
for details) and the lack of any available virus sequences we want to share the WNV genome sequence obtained from the CSF sample of this case. Download-LINK *.fasta

The full genome sequence is highly similar to that of strain Italy/2014/Verona/35.2 (GenBank Acc No. KP789956), a strain that belongs to genetic lineage II and was obtained from a human case in the same geographic area 4 years ago. There are only 12 nucleotide exchanges across the entire genome of 10,939 nt.
The sequence has been submitted to GenBank for immediate release (GenBank Acc. no. MH910045).

Victor Corman

Christian Drosten

Recent Publications

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More News

On March 1, 2018, the German Center for Infection Research / Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung (DZIF) at Charité published a press release entitled "How reliable is diagnostic testing for Zika?". According to DZIF scientists, the "molecular diagnostic tests for the Zika virus in Brazil are not always reliable. Almost two thirds of all laboratories showed false-positive or false-negative results".

Institue of Virology: Location