Russian Federation National Virus Collection

The Russian Federation National Virus Collection of II-IV Pathogenicity Groups operates on the basis of the D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology as part of the Laboratory of the National Virus Collection. The Virus Collection has been operating since the establishment of the Institute of Virology in 1944. The status of the National Virus Collection (NVC) of the Russian Federation and its Charter were approved by the Order of the Ministry of Health in 1993 and the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 24.06.1996. In these documents, the National Virus Collection is recognized as the property of the state, the need for its mandatory preservation and replenishment is stated.

The main activities of the National Virus Collection are as follows:

  • Preservation of the gene pool of viruses belonging to more than 10 families, collected in the territory of Russia and the CIS countries during field investigations of outbreaks of infectious diseases of unknown etiology, as well as those obtained from abroad;
  • Expansion of the NVC with viruses isolated during epidemic (epizootic) outbreaks and presenting a significant problem for the Russian healthcare as especially dangerous pathogens or pathogens of socially significant infections that can create emergency epidemic situations unforeseen in their consequences;
  • Expansion of the NVC with viruses for the purpose of subsequent patenting of industrial strains obtained in scientific laboratories and suitable for the production of vaccines, diagnostic drugs on their basis, as well as for screening of antiviral drugs;
  • Use of viruses stored in the NVC for the development of modern diagnostic products, for obtaining virus-specific immunoglobulins, monoclonal antibodies, serum panels, antigens, genetic material necessary for express indication, diagnosis and identification of viruses in the process of decoding outbreaks of infectious diseases unclear etiology;
  • The use of viruses stored in the SCV for the development of therapeutic and prophylactic drugs, including for the creation of experimental models of infections that are important for non-clinical trials of antiviral drugs, for testing disinfectants of various origins, for evaluating the effectiveness of manufactured and developed vaccines against viral infections, for breeding vaccine strains of viruses;
  • Use of viruses stored in the NVC to study the evolution and history of the emergence of epidemic strains, to study the variability of virus strains;
  • Supply of epidemiological institutions, virological laboratories of the country that have official permission to work with viruses of II-IV pathogenicity groups with collection strains of viruses for quality control and improvement of the developed diagnostic and prophylactic drugs and test systems.

The NVC operating on the basis of the D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology helps to find the solution of fundamental issues of biological safety associated with the study of new and recurring infections, viruses with a high degree of genome variability, which have an increased epidemic hazard, and the problem of socially significant infections.

A number of applied tasks are being solved within the framework of the NVC activity. Namely:

  • Recommendations on the optimal conditions for the preservation and long-term storage of viral strains belonging to different families while maintaining their ability to resume replication in cell cultures and in the body of laboratory animals have been developed and published;
  • Based on viral strains stored in the NVC, new diagnostic preparations and test systems for diagnosing a number of especially hazardous arbovirus infections circulating in the Russian Federation have been created and their production was commenced to ensure environmental and epidemiological monitoring on the territory of Russia;
  • Virus strains deposited in the NVC characterized by properties suitable for practical use are being patented;
  • New drugs have been created for the treatment of dangerous and socially significant infections (AIDS, herpesvirus infections) based on the viral strains stored in the NVC;
  • Specific vaccines and sera based on industrial vaccine strains stored in the NVC are being developed;
  • The virological laboratories are being supplied with collection reference virus strains to improve the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of viral infections.

The Laboratory of the National Virus Collection, which is in charge of the National Virus Collection, was founded on May 12, 2005 as part of the Department of the National Virus Collection. In addition to the tasks listed above, the laboratory conducts priority research on the problem of viral hepatitis C, in particular, on modeling acute and chronic infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in cell cultures and at the level of the organism of laboratory animals. The laboratory has created a unique collection of highly productive, antigenically active HCV strains isolated at different times from the blood serum of infected people. Virus strains are used to develop diagnostic preparations and test systems, to screen antiviral compounds, and to develop prophylactic drugs. The Laboratory conducts research to study the biological properties of HCV strains.

The Laboratory is also involved in large-scale research on influenza caused by the highly pathogenic variant of the avian influenza A/H5N1 virus, isolating virus strains in cell cultures, studying their biological properties, developing diagnostic tools for avian influenza A, as well as non-clinical testing of antiviral compounds and microbicides.