Navigation and service

Inauguration of the Robert Koch Institute’s BSL-4 laboratory with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in February 2015. Source: Günter Bredow/RKI

Specialised Laboratories at the Robert Koch Institute

The Robert Koch Institute offers diagnostic services not only in its National Reference Centres and Consultant Laboratories, but also in laboratories specialised for specific agents and diagnostic methods.

The Robert Koch Institute hosts specialised laboratories for highly pathogenic bacterial microorganisms (e.g. Bacillus anthracis), microbial toxins (e.g. Botulinum toxins), for viral hemorrhagic fevers and retroviruses.

In 2015, the Robert Koch Institute’s new BSL-4 laboratory was inaugurated. As soon as the test phase is finished, the laboratory will be available for the diagnosis of viruses requiring the highest biosecurity level.

Date: 01.03.2016

Specialised laboratory for biological toxins

Consultant laboratory for neurotoxin-producing clostridia

In unit ZBS 3, selected microbial and plant toxins are analysed based on biological, genetic and serological methods as well as chromatographic methods and mass spectroscopy. ZBS 3 also hosts the Consultant laboratory for neurotoxin-producing clostridia (botulism, tetanus).

In case of suspect botulism cases: Please call us before you submit any samples.

Diagnostic range
ToxinDetection method
AbrinELISA, funct. methods, spectroscopy*
Clostridium botulinum toxins ELISA, cultivation, functional methods, spectroscopy*, nucleic acid detection, subtyping
Clostridium tetani toxincultivation, functional method, nucleic acid detection
RicinELISA, functional methods, spectroscopy*, nucleic acid detection
Staphylococcal enterotoxin B from S. aureusELISA, cultivation, spectroscopy*

* carried out at ZBS 6

Contact

Dr. Brigitte Dorner
Phone:
030 18754 2500
Fax:
030 18754 2501
Contact:
Dr. Brigitte Dorner

Date: 01.03.2017

    Electron Microscopy

    Consultant Laboratory for Diagnostic Electron Microscopy of Infectious Pathogens

    Diagnostic electron microscopy provides a rapid survey about pathogens present in a sample. All micro and nanoparticles, including the smallest known virus particles, can be detected based on morphological criteria, which allows to reveal and to describe even emerging pathogens. At best, the investigation by electron microscopy provides a quick tentative diagnosis which guides and speeds up a further, more specific diagnosis. Additionally, diagnostic electron microscopy may exclude the presence of a suspected pathogen and serve as an independent control for the diagnosis by other methods.

    More on Diagnostic Electron Microscopy of Infectious Pathogens

    Contact

    Dr. Michael Laue
    Phone:
    +49 30 18754 2675
    Contact:
    Dr. Michael Laue

    Date: 07.11.2017

      Accredited HIV Study Laboratory

      The tests carried out at the HIV Study Laboratory focus primarily on samples from patients enrolled in the study. For routine HIV diagnostics, please contact established diagnostic laboratories and/or the National Reference Centre for Retroviruses. In exceptional cases we are, however, available as a diagnostic laboratory within the framework of services listed below.

      Services:

      • Serological antibody detection for HIV-1/-2
      • Serological type differentiation (HIV-1, HIV-2, HIV-1/-2 double infection)
      • Genotypic resistance testing for HIV-1 (against protease, reverse transcriptase and integrase inhibitors, as well as against fusion inhibitors and CCR5 antagonists)
      • HIV-1 subtype determination (sequence-based)
      • Identification of chains of infection/transmission clusters (sequence-based)
      • Identification of superinfections (sequence-based)
      • Consulting on aspects of diagnostics, epidemiological analysis, interpretation of the results of resistance testing and the consequences for a therapeutic regimen

      Analyses offered:

      • HIV-1/-2 antibody detection by ELISA
      • HIV-1/-2 antibody detection with type-specific immunoblots for type differentiation
      • Genotypic resistance screening against protease and reverse transcriptase inhibitors (ViroSeq HIV-genotyping kit)
      • Genotypic resistance screening against integrase inhibitors (accreditation planned)
      • Genotypic forecast of efficacy of co-receptor antagonists (accreditation planned)
      • Genotypic resistance screening against fusion inhibitors (accreditation planned)
      • HIV-1 subtype determination (phylogenetic analysis based on regions of genomic sequence)
      • Identification of superinfections and chains of infection/transmission networks (phylogenetic analyses of regions of genomic sequences)

      Contact

      Dr. Claudia Kücherer
      Phone:
      030 18754 2277 / -2243
      Fax:
      030 18754 2605
      Contact:
      Dr. Claudia Kücherer
      Sabrina Neumann
      Phone:
      +49 (0)30 - 18754-2243
      Contact:
      Sabrina Neumann
      Dr. Karolin Meixenberger
      Phone:
      +49 (0)30 - 18754-2566
      Contact:
      Dr. Karolin Meixenberger

      Date: 01.03.2016

        Specialised laboratory for highly pathogenic bacteria

        Consulting Laboratory for Bacillus anthracis and Consultant Laboratory for Tularemia

        Unit ZBS 2 investigates clinical samples and environmental materials of selected bacterial pathogens of the risk groups 2 and 3, in particular pathogens posing biological risks. ZBS 2 also hosts the Consulting Laboratory for Bacillus anthracis.
        Please call us before you send in any samples.

        Siegel der Deutschen Akkreditierungsstelle für ausgewählte VerfahrenDAkkS-Akkreditierung für ausgewählte Verfahren


        Diagnostic range
        PathogenCulture and antibiogramPCRAntigen / antibody detectionTyping and detection of cholera toxin
        Bacillus anthracis (anthrax, splenic fever) and other related anthrax pathogensxxx-
        Francisella tularensis (tularemia, rabbit fever)xxx-
        Yersinia pestis (plague)xx--
        Burkholderia mallei (maliasmus)xx--
        Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis)xx--
        Brucella spp.(brucellosis)xx--
        Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)-x--
        Vibrio cholerae (cholera)xx-x

        Differential diagnoses can be made by using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (in co-operation with unit ZBS 6).

        Contact

        Prof. Dr. med. Roland Grunow
        Phone:
        030 18754 2100
        Fax:
        030 18754 2110
        Contact:
        Prof. Dr. med. Roland Grunow
        Dr. Daniela Jacob
        Phone:
        030 18754 2934
        Fax:
        030 18754 2110
        Contact:
        Dr. Daniela Jacob

        Date: 01.03.2016

          Specialised laboratory for highly pathogenic viruses

          Consulting Laboratory for Poxviruses

          The unit ZBS 1 hosts the German Consulting Laboratory for Poxviruses. Furthermore, after telephone consultation, it is also possible to diagnose clinical samples for selected viruses of risk groups 2, 3 and 4.

          Diagnostic range
          PathogenBiological safety levelCultivationPCRAntibody detection
          Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever virus4-xx
          Chikungunya virus3xxx
          Dengue virus3xxx
          Ebola virus4-x-
          Yellow fever virus3xxx
          Japanese encephalitis virus 3xxx
          Lassa virus4-x-
          Marburg virus4-x-
          Rift Valley fever virus3xxx
          SARS corona virus3xxx
          West Nile virus3xxx
          Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus3xx-

          The detection of other viruses is possible on request.


          Contact

          Prof. Dr. Andreas Nitsche
          Phone:
          030 18754 2313
          Fax:
          030 18754 2604
          mobile:
          0151-12 19 68 19
          Contact:
          Prof. Dr. Andreas Nitsche

          Date: 01.03.2016

            The BSL-4 laboratory at the Robert Koch Institute

            In February 2015, the RKI’s new laboratory and office building at Seestrasse was inaugurated. In its centre, the building also contains laboratories of the highest biosafety level 4, in which pathogens of the highest risk group such as Ebola, Marburg and Lassa viruses can be safely examined. The laboratories have their own air, power and water supply; multi-tiered security systems prevent pathogens from being released. In Germany, the Robert Koch Institute is the only federal institute in the field of human medicine with a BSL-4 laboratory.

            As a central institution for infection protection in Germany, the RKI conducts many diagnostic and experimental activities. In the event of an imported highly contagious disease, rapid diagnostics are necessary in order to be able to decide about isolation measures and treatment. The BSL-4 laboratory allows a safe handling of such patient samples. Furthermore, it enables the scientists to research highly pathogenic agents and their control in a targeted manner. Before the BSL-4 laboratory will go into operation, it will run through a longer test phase.


            More on RKI’s BSL-4 Laboratory

            Contact

            Dr. Andreas Kurth
            Phone:
            030 18754 2323
            Contact:
            Dr. Andreas Kurth

            Date: 01.03.2016