The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) is a federal research institute and independent higher federal authority under the Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. At present, the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut has approximately 900 employees in eleven specialist institutes at five locations. The work of the FLI focuses on farm animal health and welfare and on the protection of humans from zoonoses. The FLI is one of the leading research institutes for animal health in Europe. The project-related major tasks are the prevention of diseases by developing and improving new diagnostic technologies including rapid diagnostics, and providing the background for modern surveillance and control strategies for animal diseases and zoonoses. The FLI performs basic and applied research in different scientific areas, including epidemiology, immunology, virology, bacteriology, and parasitology. The FLI operates state-of-the-art experimental virology labs and experimental animal facilities up to BSL-4, also for experiments with both domestic and wild birds, in which all the virology, molecular biology, pathology and immunology techniques necessary for this project are fully operational.
The Institute of Diagnostic Virology (IVD) studies important virus diseases of animals, mainly in terms of diagnosis, differential diagnosis, molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis. Special attention is given to notifiable diseases and zoonoses. Nineteen different reference laboratories, e.g. for Avian Influenza (also OIE and FAO reference laboratory), Foot-and-Mouth-Disease or African Swine Fever are part of the Institute of Diagnostic Virology. In addition, new molecular diagnostics, including next-generation sequencing techniques (Ion Torrent, Illumina and MinIon platforms), automated nucleic acid extraction, DNA chip technology and real-time (multiplex) PCR are major tasks. Influenza A viruses are a major focus of the institute including molecular diagnostics, virus isolation, sequencing, phylogeny, molecular epidemiology, and pathogenesis. Infection studies with all types of birds, pigs, mice and ferrets are a special expertise of the institute under both BSL2 and BSL3 conditions.
The Institute of Molecular Virology and Cell Biology (IMVZ) investigates pathogen-host cell interactions on the molecular level using selected viruses, which are of importance in veterinary medicine. Research at the institute focuses on herpesviruses, rhabdoviruses, orthomyxoviruses, paramyxoviruses, and asfarviruses. Using the most recent molecular virological, biochemical and cell biological techniques, their genome organization and regulation of gene expression are investigated and viral gene products are identified and characterized with regard to their function and interaction with host cell components. In addition to genetic engineering methods for targeted modification of viral genomes, the platforms for proteome analysis and for “Live-Cell Imaging” which are part of the institute play a central role. In addition, the Institute of Molecular Virology and Cell Biology houses the National Reference Laboratories for Aujeszky's Disease, Rabies, and Infectious Laryngotracheitis. Molecular biology including reverse genetics of influenza A viruses is a major expertise and recombinant viruses and reassortants are generated and characterized routinely.