Avian Influenza Research Centre

Avian Influenza Research Centre—Advancing practical research using its BSL3 laboratory.

Fields of research at the Avian Influenza Research Centre

Avian influenza (AI) is one of the most important zoonoses. H5N1 AI viruses are causative agents, and are spreading from Asia to Europe and Africa, causing serious societal problems in many countries, especially developing countries. Although it is critical to control their spread without delay, H5N1 viruses are still being widely communicated. This research center was founded to establish control measures for bird flu. Our research focuses mainly on the epizootiology of AI. We are collaborating with other universities to further extend our studies. We are also collaborating with a number of companies to develop practical anti-viral products. We evaluate the materials they experimentally produce, analyze anti-viral mechanisms, and search for applications.

Characteristics of the Avian Influenza Research Centre

The Avian Influenza Research Centre analyzes certain properties of AI viruses isolated from a number of species of migratory waterfowl flying south from Siberia or northern China and staying in the Kansai region, in particular at Lake Biwa during the winter, to clarify the ecology of these isolates. We are able to analyze the pathogenicity of such highly pathogenic AI viruses as H5N1 and other subtypes in vivo using the BSL3 system set up in 2010.

We have been collaborating since 2006 with the Avian Zoonosis Research Centre, Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, and the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, to investigate AI incidence in Vietnam. We have been collecting a large sample of feces and throat swabs from several species of domestic fowl reared in that country to isolate AI viruses, plus serum samples to calculate antibody titer to these viruses. We have been collecting useful data about not only the AI virus contamination situation in the Vietnamese poultry industry but also the level of threat with this virus of human infection. Our research base is the “Friendship Laboratory” overseas research station opened by Nagasaki University at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi.

We are also beginning to collaborate with the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases to investigate incidence of AI in Egypt.