Carretera Madrid a A Coruña, Guadarrama, Comunidad de Madrid, Spain

Brno, Jihovýchod, Czech Republic

Teramo, Abruzzo, Italy

Bettola-Zeloforomagno, Lombardy, Italy

Guildford, England, United Kingdom

Addlestone, England, United Kingdom

Puławy, Lublin, Poland

14 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie, Maisons-Alfort, Île-de-France, France

Artillerivej 5, Copenhagen, Region Hovedstaden, Denmark

OHEJP MAD-Vir project logo

The Project #MAD-Vir

Start: 1 January 2018
Duration: 2 Years
Domain:  Emerging Threats
Keywords: Microarray, Metagenomics, Virus, Emerging virus, Diagnostic, Surveillance
Contact: Anders Fomsgaard (SSI)

MAD-Vir: Metagenomic Array Detection of emerging Virus in EU

The MAD-Vir Project aimed to further develop a metagenomics microarray technology with adequate sensitivity for clinical application to improve fast detection of viral foodborne zoonoses (FBZ) agents and emerging threats

Epidemics and outbreaks of emerging viral diseases are a growing global threat. The recent Ebola, MERS-CoV and Zika virus outbreaks illustrate this. It is vital for the control of spread of any infectious disease to identify the pathogen and source of disease rapidly and accurately. Early, rapid and bio-safe diagnosis of unusual and imported cases offers the best preparedness. However, many infections show similar symptoms (syndromes) or initially nonspecific symptoms, making them clinically difficult to recognize. It can also be difficult to distinguish disease syndromes caused by an emerging or new virus from those of other common diseases.

Project Outputs and Outcomes

In order to improve fast detection of viral FBZ agents and emerging threats, MAD-Vir developed a metagenomics microarray technology (Pan-Virus-Array) with adequate sensitivity for clinical application. It provides rapid simultaneous identification of all known virus but also all virus families. This approach is very fast, easy and cheap (compared to NGS) and can eliminate the need for a specific clinical hypothesis.

The MAD-Vir project further developed this microarray chip to allow easy update with new virus probes and to implement the Microarray chip method in 4 EU reference laboratories. This metagenomic microarray was also compared to other diagnostic methods that have already been developed (e.g. pathogen specific PCRs, Microfluidic PCRs, Nanostring) and used in the testing of suspicious and imported disease cases, as well as surveys.

The development and harmonization of this non-NGS-based metagenomics method for detection of viral FBZ agents and emerging threats may aid in both early identification of zoonotic pathogens and outbreak preparedness.

Project Assets

Dastjerdi, A., Benfield, C., Everest, D., Stidworthy, MF., Zell, R. (2020). Novel enteric viruses in fatal enteritis of grey squirrels. Journal of General Virology, 101, pp. 746–75. DOI:

Petersen A, Rosenstierne MW, Rasmussen M, Fuursted K, Nielsen HV, O’Brien Andersen L, Bødker R, Fomsgaard A. (2019). Field samplings of Ixodes ricinus ticks from a tick-borne encephalitis virus micro-focus in Northern Zealand, Denmark. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 10(5), pp.1028-1032. DOI:


Project Events

MAD-Vir Annual Meeting 21st May 2019



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