Interview: Professor Antonios Antoniadis

Hemorrhagic Fevers –
Reference Laboratory In Greece
Professor Antonios Antoniadis,
Medical School, University of Thessaloniki,
President of the Hellenic Pasteur Institute


Although there are many things we would like to ask you on this topic that we could share with our readers, let us focus on your Lab functions: the WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Arboviruses and Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses. How did you manage to organize the Lab so successfully that it was incorporated into the WHO Reference Center?

Research on hemorrhagic fever viruses and arboviruses began in 1980 in collaboration with the Arboviruses Research Unit of Yale University and the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. This collaboration produced a useful flow of know-how and necessary funding for almost 9 years. The result of this exchange of expertise led, among other things, to the establishment of the Biosafety Room 3. In Europe during the 80’s, very few laboratories were researching hemorrhagic fever, thus our lab, which was well organized, produced research results and offered various lab techniques as back-up to other labs within and outside Europe, was recognized as the WHO Reference Center.


How do you see the “future” of hemorrhagic fevers in Greece and in Europe?

Climate change, rapid population movement by air, and migration are the main factors in the re-emergence and import of hemorrhagic fevers into our country and Europe. It is therefore absolutely necessary that rigorous surveillance exists and works, especially in our country, which is a gateway for immigrants.


What is the contribution of other Reference Lab Centers, like yours, to the surveillance of communicable diseases?

It is widely known that a main factor in the rapid confrontation of an epidemic is the early identification of the microbe that causes it. Therefore, the contribution of the specialized Labs and Centers is essential.


Thank you very much.

Edited by Philip Koukouritakis