Tracing the fate and infectivity of human pathogenic viruses through the environment

Investigating the origin and fate of human pathogenic viruses in the freshwater-marine continuum

Viruses pose one of the biggest threats to human wellbeing being responsible for numerous infections and millions of deaths worldwide each year. Our understanding of the behaviour of human pathogenic viruses in the environment, however, remains poor. This is limiting our potential to protect human health. In view of this, our project aims to develop new tools for the detection and surveillance of human pathogenic viruses in freshwater, estuarine and coastal environments. These tools will enable us to study the origin, diversity and fate of viral populations in both space and time. The information gathered in this project will be used to design new guidelines for assessing infection risk (e.g. in recreational waters, beaches & shellfisheries) and for protecting human health.

The VIRAQUA project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) under the Environmental Microbiology and Human Health (EMHH) Programme.

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