The European Virus Archive (EVA) is at the forefront in the battle against the coronavirus. Futuris speaks to its head, Professor Jean Louis Romette.
Established twelve years ago, the European Virus Archive was set up so Europe could become fully independent in the field of virological research. Home to more than 3000 products, including viruses, test substances and other types of material, the project has become one of the most important virological databases in the world.
The EVA's head, Professor Jean Louis Romette, says the idea for the institute was partially borne out of the complex international political situation that followed in the wake the 9/11 attacks.
"A dedicated structure in Europe"
_"Having access to good quality viruses is essential for virology research; for a long time the only organised centres (in the world) were in the United States.
"Following the 9/11 attacks, the United States decided to only give American laboratories access to these centres. Europe was completely isolated and it was during this time that we started to realise that we needed to set up a dedicated structure in Europe,” Romette says.
He adds: _"The importance of EVA has been demonstrated during the various health crises that we’ve had to face. We have had MERS, Ebola, Zika, yellow fever, dengue, now we have the coronavirus, and each time, we’ve reacted very quickly to help countries to cope with these epidemics. This is true for human health. We are able to do if for the veterinary field and soon for plants as well."