The Unit for Supporting Development of Therapeutics for Infectious Diseases
In the context of the HTRI EATRIS-GR the Hellenic Pasteur Institute (HPI) operates laboratories that support development and validation of drugs and therapeutic agents against pathogenic microorganisms with particular impact on public health at national and international level. Efficient cellular models of viral and parasitic infection are implemented in customized and certified laboratory environment. The laboratories are operated by highly experienced scientific and technical personnel and includes BSL-2 and BSL-3 laboratory spaces properly equipped to support translational research activities in the following specific areas.
1) Viruses of the Flavivirus genus (Flaviviruses). They are important agents of vector-borne human diseases and mortality and cause severe infections. Among them, the Dengue virus (DENV), Yellow fever virus (YFV), West Nile virus (WNV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) are considered global reemerging pathogens due to the frequency and severity of recent epidemics. HPI operates an Anti-Flaviviral Drug Laboratory, comprising of efficient and prototype cell-culture based models of flavivirus infection, adapted at atmospheric conditions or normoxic ones that simulate the physiological oxygen tension and metabolic microenvironment of tissues. The Anti-Flaviviral Drug Laboratory, unique of its kind in Greece, functions since 2008.
2) The parasite Leishmania. Leishmaniasis represents a spectrum of vector-borne protozoan diseases that affects approximately one billion people worldwide, mainly the poorest people on earth, and thus represents a major public health challenge. The Anti-leishmanial Drug Laboratory supports screening for new-generation drugs on in vitro cell-based models and in vivo models of the disease in genetically susceptible mice. Assays for testing drug anti-leishmanial activities have been optimized on three different systems: (a) in Leishmania promastigotes of different identified laboratory strains; (b) in Leishmania amastigotes using different macrophage cell lines (host-cell dependence antileishmanial activity) and (c) in animal models of leishmaniasis.