The fight against viral infections requires intricate knowledge of viral mechanisms of action, so researchers need access to specific strains. The EVA (European virus archive) project has successfully set up a large network of recognised centres to store viruses safely. An expanding web-based catalogue should help advertise and distribute collected viruses in the collection as well as associated products. EVA developed high-quality safety procedures for handling virus collections and ensured quality through best practice guidelines and audits. Their resources are being used to support virus amplification and sustainable long-term storage. EVA researchers estimate that more than 10 000 viruses are distributed globally in small laboratory collections. Many of these could be lost to science if they are not brought together in a coordinated high quality collection. The EVA web-based catalogue is functional, user friendly, and provides access to database products that are increasing continuously as the number of contributing laboratories increases. High quality control standards are maintained when shipping viruses and their derivative products such as gene segments. EVA initially aimed to develop its platform at the European level. However, the network has been extended to incorporate all major collections globally. Indeed, EVA has grown from nine initial members to 27 currently, with the association of new partners from Europe (Germany, Italy, Netherlands), as well as international partners (China, Russia, South Africa and Turkey). EVA also integrated the World Health Organisation Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network for the control of viral disease in developing countries. They will supply access to highly pathogenic biosafety level-4 viruses for the European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents. These include Ebola and Lassa fever viruses. EVA also established links with the World Organisation for Animal Health as several veterinary institutions also joined this network. The EVA network continues to spread with future collaborations foreseen with Australia and the USA. The dedicated project website highlights the latest news on viral outbreaks, particularly when a virus has emerged in a new geographical location. Laboratories in developing countries can now access high-calibre facilities and contribute to the expanding pool of viruses and reagents. This should help us deal more effectively with the threat of viral infections.
International, virus library network, global, catalogue