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Stability and inactivation of hepatitis E virus in food and the environment


This third-party funded project is conducted in the framework of the BfR research programme on exposure estimation and assessment of biological risks.

Support programme: BLV Schweiz

BLV grant number: 4.18.01

Project homepage: -

Project description:

The hepatitis E virus (HEV) can be transmitted via contaminated food or the environment. The lack of efficient methods for HEV infectivity testing hampered the identification of sources of infection and inactivation methods in the past. An HEV cell culture system recently developed by BfR will be used in the project for this purpose. The inactivating effects of different pH values and salt concentrations, which are used for food production, will be investigated. A model enabling the prediction of HEV infectivity at different temperatures, pH values and salt concentrations in a time-dependent manner will be developed. In an HEV-contaminated meat product, the infectivity after curing will be investigated. Surfaces will be contaminated with HEV and the infectivity after drying will be assessed. The investigations should help to identify foods and environmental conditions showing a high risk for virus transmission as well as identify effective inactivation methods.

BfR part of the project:

The BfR coordinates the project and performs experimental investigations on the optimization of the cell culture system and on the inactivation of HEV by various physico-chemical conditions. Thereafter, inactivation models for HEV at distinct inactivating conditions will be developed on the basis of the data.

Project partners:

  • University of Leipzig
  • Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, Switzerland




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