The Virology Unit

The research in the Virology Unit is aimed at central viral infections in Norwegian fish farming and cattle production and at viruses that can infect humans through food and water. We are responsible for teaching veterinary and veterinary nursing students in virology. 

Our research 

The research unit has for many years had viral infections in farmed fish as a central focus due to the importance of these infections for the aquaculture industry nationally. The fish virus group (link) has the main focus on Piscint orthoreovirus (PRV) which causes the disease cardiovascular inflammation (HSMB); Salmonid alphavirus (SAV) which is the cause of Pancreatic Disease (PD) and Infectious salmon anemia virus (ILAV). The long-term goal is to understand basic disease mechanisms, ie: «Why does the fish get sick». It can help to establish preventive measures and vaccines to be able to control the infections. «What can be done to prevent disease?»

The Virology Unit has worked with bovine coronavirus (BCoV) for several years, in close collaboration with the Production Animal Clinic at Faculty for Veterinary Medicine at NMBU. BCoV causes intestinal and respiratory infections in cattle and is widespread in Norwegian herds. The research has formed part of the basis for the establishment of the control program for BCoV and BRSV (bovine respiratory syncytial virus). 

In the area of ​​food safety, the unit's focus has been on norovirus (NoV), adenovirus (AdV) and hepatitis A virus (HAV). NoV is the most common cause of foodborne illness, both in Norway and globally. Our work has been particularly focused on establishing a methodology for virus detection in food and water. The Virology Unit is the national reference laboratory for viruses in food and water. 

The Virology Unit has for several years been the national reference laboratory for viral infections in bees. There is a lot of attention in society around increased mortality in bees. We have shown that Deformed wing viruses (DWV) and Sacbrood viruses (bagpipe viruses) are important for increased mortality in bees in Norway.

Our teaching 

We teach veterinary students in virology in the blocks General pathology, Infectious diseases and Food safety, and veterinary students who have specialization in aquaculture. A main goal in the theory of infection is that students gain an understanding of the properties of viruses that are important for the virus' ability to cause disease, what kind of diseases they cause, how they are transmitted, and that they gain knowledge about disease mechanisms, epidemiology and prevention. The focus is on viral infections in production animals (including fish), sports and family animals in Norway, but also on important viral diseases internationally. In food safety, the focus is on NoV and HAV and infection of humans via Norwegian-produced and imported foods. 

The teaching of our veterinary nursing students will provide knowledge about viruses in general, cleaning, disinfection, vaccination and about the most important viruses that cause disease in sports and family animals in Norway or that we fear may establish themselves in Norway.

Methodology and special competence 

  • Virus infection models
  • Receptor research
  • Reverse genetics
  • Replicone vaccines / DNA vaccines
  • Next generation sequencing (NGS) of viruses
  • RNAseq
  • In situ hybridization
  • Flow cytometry of virus-infected cells
  • Quantification of «live» viruses (culture and PMAxx treatment)
  • Virus quantification (qPCR and droplet digital PCR)

Ongoing projects

  • SARS-CoV2 in sewage (NIVA and SLU)
  • BarriNor (Norwegian Water and Water Producers)
  • NoV in Pacific Oysters (Institute of Marine Research)
  • BCoV and Cryptosporidium parvum in vitro co-infection [Department of Parasitology]
  • Establishing bovine enteroids for cultivation of enteric pathogens (FG for parasitology)
  • APPV in pigs (Production Animal Clinic and SLU)
  • Detection of Salmonid Alphavirus in water (Veterinary Institute)
  • PlastPath (FG for food safety, FG for pathology and Weltzienlab)
  • Hantavirus and hepatitis E virus in rats (FG for bacteriology)
  • VivaAct (funded by NFR) Vaccine development fish, (Univ in Tromsø, Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, INRA France)
  • Verification (funded by NFR) Cellular receptor for PRV. (SINTEF, UNiv of Pittsburgh, USA, Miguel Hernández de Elche University, Spain)
  • Red Flag (funded by the NFR, headed by the Veterinary Institute). Immunological significance of red blood cells in fish. (Veterinary Institute, Univ of British Columbia, Canada)
  • Red and black spots in salmon fillet (funded by FHF) (Expert group for anatomy, Prepat)
  • PRV - vaccine candidate. (Funded by Elanco, USA)
  • Emergence and spread of PRV-3 (Funded by the Danish Research Council, led by the Technical University of Denmark)
  • Expression studies of DNA constructs (Funded by Stonehaven, UK)
  • Effect of ISA vaccine (financed by industry)Is PMCV an infection of salmon? (funded by FHF) (Pharmaq Analytic)
  • Fresh varroa resistant honey bees (funded by NFR) (Beekeepers' team)
  • Management support virus bees (MT)



Published 27. January 2022 - 14:22 - Updated 13. May 2022 - 9:40