The Molecular Virology lab of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechonlogy (ICGEB) in Trieste is partnering in the TBFVnet project funded by the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation. The objectives are to study and survey tick-borne flaviviruses. The website of TBFVnet project is www.tbfvnet.eu.
The TBFVnet is a network of laboratories from six different institutes each with long-standing expertize in studying and surveying tick-borne flaviviruses. The partners are from six different countries across Central Europe, at the heart of the endemic region. In January 2021 the www.tbfvnet.eu website has been launched.
Tick-Borne flaviviruses (TBFVs) include many human and animal pathogens causing severe diseases. The project focuses on Tick-Borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), Powassan virus (POWV), Luping-ill virus (LIV) and Omsk hemorrhagic fever virus (OHFV). At present no antivirals or treatments for TBFV infections are available and a prophylactic vaccine is only available for Tick-Borne Encephalitis virus (TBEV).
TBFVnet aims to develop novel diagnostic tools and antivirals against tick-borne flavivirus infections. Efforts will also aim to raise awareness on tick-borne diseases, and involve research centres from other countries to join TBFVnet.
The TBFVnet project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation. The Project aims to build an international network of laboratories that collect and share expertise, tools and protocols to investigate the biology and the pathogenesis of TBFV. The project operates through six institutes across Europe, at the heart of the endemic region in Czech Republic, Italy, Norway, Russia, Slovak Republic, and in Sweden.
A central effort to the project is the commitment of new partners. To this end, ICGEB, which heads the Communications work package, presented the project to both his Board of Governors and Council of Scientific Advisers last year. This was the first step to raise awareness about tick-borne flaviviruses among Member States that may be in the endemic area.