This project aims to develop new and cost-effective methods to detect and quantify human pathogenic viruses in water. European Union MS and Industries are required to assess the microbiological status of water through detection and enumeration of faecal pollution "indicator" bacteria. Outbreaks of "new and emerging pathogens" clearly demonstrate that these conventional methods are not sufficient to guarantee the quality of waters and to protect human health. Pathogenic viruses detection relies on cell culture, which is difficult, expensive, time consuming and thus not appropriate for routine monitoring. In addition, most waterborne viruses are impossible to grow.
Therefore, there is a need for more efficient methods which are rapid, sensitive, specific and reproducible and that could be developed in commercial products. The project aims to develop molecular methods to detect different enteroviral strains representative of the known human serotypes, including poliovirus and hepatitis A virus. The experiment al approach is quantitative real time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Appropriate interpretation of a positive-PCR will be an important issue for virus-related health hazard assessment because viral genomes and infectious viruses exhibit different behaviour patterns in water.
Seasonal distribution of Enteroviruses in water will be investigated and strains detected in the environment will be compared to human-isolated strains through molecular genotyping. Complementary epidemiological studies may help to det ermine whether human pathogenic strains are water-transmitted. Virulence and infective capacity of isolated strains will be investigated in mice models. This fellowship offers the researcher the opportunity to develop new molecular approaches (Quantitative _PCR) in environmental virology, a very new research area. The experience in molecular biology together with his background will complete the fellow competences in environmental virology.
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