About the project

When we think about a virus, we often think about the flu. When you have the flu, you stay at home for a few days and you let your immune system fight the infection and, ultimately, get rid of it.

 

However, there are many viruses that can seriously impact our health. For example, respiratory tract infections (RTIs) and gastro-enteritis (GE) are viral infections that lead to morbidity and mortality. In addition, RTIs and GE are the main cause of death among children under the age of five.

 

Most RTIs have a viral origin and originate from influenza viruses (IV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human coronavirus (HCoV) and rhinovirus (RV). Each year, RV infections lead to 40 million days of absence from work or school in the United States alone.

GE is predominantly caused by Human Rotavirus (HRV) and human noroviruses (HuNoV). HRV has led to 453,000 annual deaths in children below the age of five.

 

Additionally, human picornaviruses are among the most common infections in mankind. Enteroviruses (EV) are human picornaviruses and are endemic worldwide. They cause 10-15 million infections worldwide and leads to at least 30,000-50,000 hospitalizations per year in the United States.

 

Ultimately, these viral infections pose a huge burden in terms of morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs. Organovir aims to study these viruses with organoids in order to prevent future infections and to test vaccines. In addition, organoid technology can also replace animal models and thus reduce animal use in virology. The goal of the project is to make organoids a superior model for virus research and to transform the virology landscape.

Innovative training programme

Organovir is an ITN that trains young researchers to lead innovation in the field of organoids for virology in Europe.

 

Organovir’s innovative nature lies in its training programme, which combines its research projects with a novel training programme. The training programme will allow for Organovir to deliver well-rounded individuals trained in organoids for virus research.

The goal of the project is to make organoids a superior model for virus research and to transform the virology landscape.

Work packages

Organovir is built up out of 6 work packages. Work packages 2 to 5 are ‘research work packages’ and focus on achieving Organovir’s research mission, namely to establish human organoids as superior models for virus research.

 

These research work packages will be guided by Work package 1, the ‘learn’ work package, as well as Work package 6, the ‘navigate’ work package.

Work Package 1 – Learn

This work package is dedicated to an innovative training programme, including a pre-MBA programme for our young researchers, existing out of 5 training modules. Special attention is given to the personal development of our young research by an assigned coach.

 

More information about the training programme can be found here.

Work package 2 – Develop

The ‘Develop’ work package explores the creation and validation of new tools to optimize organoids for virus research. Organoids will be linked to immune cells and to each other in order to create more accurate human research models.

Work Package 3 – Understand

Organoid technology will be introduced in this work package to understand how viruses affect humans. Human airway, gut and brain organoids will be infected with different viruses and the effects of these viruses on the human tissue will be studied.

Work Package 4 – Apply

Organoids are the ultimate tool for antiviral research. New drugs against viruses can now be tested on effectivity inhibiting a virus infection in human tissues while at the same time toxicity of this drug can be tested.

Work Package 5 – Share

In this work package the emphasis lies on ethical aspects of organoid technology, commercialization of such a new technique and communicating about research results and different aspects of organoids for virology.

Work Package 6 – Navigate

Arranges the management of Organovir.

Our team

Organovir has a consortium that exists out of 10 beneficiaries and 5 partners from various sectors, such as academics, industry as well as governmental and non-profit sectors. Each beneficiary and partner has expertise in the fields of virology, organoid technology, ethics, policy, business, education or communication. With this broad range of expertise, Organovir will have a significant impact on the virology landscape in Europe.