Reference laboratories

European Union Reference Laboratory for Parasites

Current research projects

In this section, information is provided about research projects in the field of parasitology to which our Unit (Foodborne and Neglected Parasites), other European (including NRLs) and non-European Institutions are currently participating.

One Health European Joint Programme (OHEJP) projects

  • TOXOSOURCES is a unique international collaboration with optimal complementary expertise on the zoonotic parasite Toxoplasma gondii at the interface of humans, animals, food, and environment.

  • MEmE is a multicentre collaborative international project aiming to fill the research gaps highlighted by international agencies (EFSA, ECDC, WHO) for the detection and control of cystic and alveolar echinococosis (CE and AE, respectively).

  • PARADISE is a large international consortium with optimal complementary expertise on the zoonotic parasites Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia duodenalis. PARADISE aims to deliver informative typing schemes and innovative detection strategies applicable to food matrices for both parasites.

  • OH-Harmony-CAP aims to collect information on current capabilities, capacities and interoperability at both the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) and the primary diagnostic level. A global strategic overview of laboratory capacity in the animal-food field, as provided by EULabCap, will be provided, updated and expanded.

  • MACE is the joint application of mathematical modelling and economic evaluation at fine spatial resolutions, and in the active elicitation of risk attitudes towards cystic echinococcosis and related control measures to formally model their impact on the uptake of interventions and their efficacy.

EFSA projects

  • IMPACT (Standardising molecular detection methods to IMprove risk assessment capacity for foodborne protozoan Parasites, using Cryptosporidium in ready-to-eat salad as a model) aim to increase the European-level capacity for risk assessment of foodborne protozoa of ready to eat salad leaves by strengthening laboratory networks and enabling knowledge exchange and transfer through a series of planned activities. These will encompass validation and standardization of molecular detection methods to facilitate a harmonized approach for data collection for future risk assessment.

Other International projects

  • PERITAS is a multicentre collaborative international project which aims to elucidate the pathways of transmission of Echinococcus granulosus. PERITAS is a cross-sectional ultrasound study of human cystic echinococcosis infection for the identification of high endemic clusters followed by a case-control molecular epidemiology study on several environmental matrices, comparing level of contamination.

  • NDTND is a collaborative international project which aims at developing new therapeutic and diagnostic tools to contribute to the control of neglected diseases caused by helminth parasites, such as cystic and alveolar echinococcosis. In addition, ultrasound surveys will provide a rapid impact on the health system of the rural populations involved in the study.

  • IRCE is a prospective, observational, multicentre, online clinical register of patients with probable or confirmed cystic echinococcosis caused by Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato. For each patient, data on the clinical history of the disease (first diagnosis, cyst number and localization, WHO-IWGE cyst classification, symptoms, surgical interventions, other therapies, etc.) are recorded.