Laboratory of Environmental Virology LEV

Our mission is to examine the fate and interactions of viruses and other microbes in natural and engineered systems. We aim to understand and characterize their stability in water and air through experimentation, field work and modelling, ultimately contributing to the protection of public health and the environment.

LEV is interested in the fate of human viruses in natural and engineered systems. Viruses are excreted from their host via the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract and are thus found in air, water, sewage or on surfaces. On the one hand, this constitutes a health risk if infectious viruses are inhaled or ingested. On the other hand, the human virus population in the environment harbors valuable information on the health status of the surrounding population.

In LEV we work toward understanding the fundamental processes that govern the fate of viruses outside their hosts, and to utilize this information to protect public health.

Topics of interest include virus inactivation by chemical oxidants (e.g., chlorine, ozone) and natural stressors (e.g., sunlight, microbial grazers), virus persistence in aerosol particles, wastewater-based epidemiology, and evolution of viruses to higher persistence phenotypes.

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