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Project summary

Resistance of Influenza Viruses in Environmental Reservoirs and Systems (RIVERS) - project No SSPE-CT-2006-44405, maintained within the 6th Framework Programme

The surge of the global avian influenza epizootic caused by the genotype A highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) has posed numerous questions, in particular to risk managers and policy makers. Scientific knowledge is thin on many aspects of the ecology and environmental properties of HPAIVs, in particular H5N1. Virus survival, a key element in control strategies, is an illustration of this paucity of knowledge. Data from the literature on AIV survival are rather limited, often very old an sometimes not confirmed from one study to another or even contradictory. The results obtained with various sub-types of influenza A viruses cannot be extrapolated to the current A(H5N1) viruses before a careful consideration. Further, few information is provided regarding the survival of influenza viruses in the air and on surfaces.

Under this project, 9 institutions directly involved in AIV studies, of which 3 from Asian countries, have joined forces in order to investigate the prevention and control of influenza outbreaks in animal population at present and at time of restocking. More precisely, the objectives are:

  • to understand the basis of virus survival from a virological point of view,
  • to understand the impact of physical and chemical elements on virus survival,
  • to evaluate the role of environmental reservoirs,
  • to propose general protocols for the concentration and detection of AIVs in waters, including waste waters, and in different matrices including food,
  • to provide a database together with analytical tools to allow the generation of evidence based guidelines for the prevention and control of influenza outbreaks in animal and human populations, especially at times of restocking.

Participating Institutes

  1. Institut Pasteur de Paris (project's coordinator) – 25-28 rue du Docteur Roux, 75015, Paris, France
  2. Cantacuzino National Institute of Research and Development Microbiology and Immunology – Splaiul Independentei 103, district 5, Bucuresti, 1-525 050096, Romania
  3. The Stephan Angeloff Institute of Microbiology – Acad. G. Bonchev Str. 26, Sofia, 1113, Bulgaria
  4. Institut Pasteur du Cambodge – 5, Monivong Boulevard, Phnom Penh, 983, Cambodia
  5. Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences – Pasteur Institute of Shanghai – 225 South Chong Qing Rd., #2, Shanghai, 200025, China
  6. Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) – 42 rue Scheiffer, 75116 Paris, France
  7. Institut Pasteur de Lille – 1 rue du Professeur Calmette, 59019, Lille, France
  8. Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling, University of Warsaw – Pawińskiego 5A, Bld. D, Warsaw PL-02-106, Poland
  9. Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences – Xiaohongshan 44, Wuhan, 430071, China


  • WPG I: Survival of influenza viruses in waters and aquatic biological systems
  • WPG II: Survival of avian influenza viruses in air and surfaces
  • WPG III: Modeling and recommendations
  • WPG IV: Exploitation and dissemination of the results, Project management


ICM coordinates the Work Programme III, in particular the Workpackage 9 - Modeling of virus survival and concentration in natural water reservoirs and soiled surfaces.