The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) was established in 1956. It is the only institute specializing in virology, viral pathology and virus technology among 19 other biological and biomedical research institutes in CAS.
The research landscape of WIV has witnessed drastic changes, owing to the demands of the eco-social development of China and great challenges in virological science and technology. WIV’s traditional programs that focused on insect viruses and applied microbiology have expanded to include more diverse areas of interest, including molecular virology, the etiology and epidemiology of emerging infectious diseases, immunovirology, analytical pathogenic microbiology, and agricultural and environmental microbiology. Thanks to its dynamic research programs and capacity, the institute has developed two unrivaled research platforms in China, the China Center for Virus Culture Collection, and the National Mega Science Facility for Biosafety Containment. These facilities have tremendously reinforced WIV’s R&D capacity and will inevitably help advance the life sciences nationwide. The hard work of WIV has paid off with global visibility and international recognition, especially in terms of research on the baculovirus, the etiological origin of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, and the discovery of numerous key regulators of innate immune signaling.
WIV has one state key laboratory, one CAS key laboratory, and one key Wuhan municipal laboratory. The State Key Laboratory of Virology (SKLV), established in 2004 and jointly supported by Wuhan University and WIV, focuses on basic research into various viruses. The CAS Key Laboratory of Agricultural and Environmental Microbiology (KLAEM), founded in 2010, focuses on fundamental microbiological studies of agricultural and environmental importance. The Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases of Wuhan, set up in 2012, focuses on basic and applied research on emerging infectious disease pathogens. WIV has different biosafety level laboratories for working on human pathogens, including 17 biosafety level 2 (BSL-2) labs, one animal BSL-2 (ABSL-2) lab and two BSL-3 labs. In addition, the first national BSL-4 laboratory is now under construction. This high-level biosafety laboratory signifies that WIV has an irreplaceable role to play in tackling emerging infectious diseases.
As of 2013, WIV had a staff of 266, including 35 principal investigators and specialists. Among WIV’s personnel are eight chief scientists in charge of national mega-research programs. WIV also has four recipients of the prestigious Distinguished Young Scientist Award and 14 CAS One Hundred Talents Program fellows, all honored for their academic merit and innovative research.
As a National International Collaboration Center, WIV promotes medium- and long-term international collaboration with organizations around the world. For example, WIV, in cooperation with Wageningen University in the Netherlands and France’s Montpellier 2 University, established the Joint Lab of Invertebrate Virology in 1998. WIV has also played a key role in the development of the CAS-African Research Center in Nairobi. WIV is in charge of setting up the microbiology and epidemiology lab, which will specialize in pathogen detection, the epidemiology of infectious diseases, and prevention and control of infectious diseases.
WIV will spare no effort to to conduct fundamental, strategic and forward-looking R&D with the support of its world-class faculty and dedicated administrative and technical support staff. WIV is determined to become one of the world’s leading institutions in virological and microbiological research, a training base for scholars in the field, and a powerful engine of biotech transfer by the year 2020.