Duration: 48 months starting January 1st 2014


The general aim of the AIROPico project is to build up a sustainable, interdisciplinary, integrated academia-industry consortium to explore and unravel mechanisms of human picornavirus pathogenesis and to develop fast diagnostics, novel treatment options and additional therapy strategies.



Viruses belonging to the large family of Picornaviridae such as enteroviruses, rhinoviruses and parechoviruses represent the most commonly encountered infectious agents in mankind.


Challenge addressed:

Although representing the most commonly encountered infectious agents in mankind, prevalence, transmission, and pathogenesis are still largely unknown and no therapy is available against picornavirus infections. This integrated research project combines the disciplines of pathogenesis, diagnostics and therapy development in order to get more insight in the mechanisms behind picornavirus infection, the resulting diseases and to develop effective antiviral treatments.


Main questions:

  • How does picornavirus pathogenesis work?
  • Can we develop a fast diagnostic test for picornaviruses?
  • Can we develop intervention strategies against picornavirus infections?


Outline of the methodology

Within a representative subgroup of picornaviruses, the interaction with the host will be investigated in depth by focussing on the three-dimensional virus structure and virus-host interaction. The generated knowledge on virus-host interaction is then used for further development of detection and typing assays for all picornaviruses and development of efficient antiviral therapy.