AQUAVIR - Water as an aquatic vector for newly emerging diseases

Water buffaloes (Syncerus caffer) at a watering hole, Photo Bernard Dupont [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo of water buffaloes at a watering hole 1

Water is the foundation of life.  However, up to now water has been neglected as a viral vector.  In climate zones with seasonally restricted annual precipitation events (in East Africa and Central Asia) a large number of animals gathers at scarce water sources.  Scientists assume that viruses that enter the water under such ecological conditions have a fitness advantage by developing characteristics that allow them to maintain their infectiousness in water while reducing their host specificity.  

This research project examines whether water is an important viral vector and to what extent they act mechanistically under such circumstances.  Furthermore the project will develop mathematical models for this phenomenon.

The project is implemented under the leadership of the Leibniz-research network INFECTIONS'21 of the  Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) (Contakt at IZW Prof. Alex D. Greenwood PhD 2).

Project duration: 1 January 2015 - 31 December 2017


Project partner


Scientific contact Christian Walzer, Head, Conservation Medicine Unit 3, Forschungsinstitut für Wildtierkunde und Ökologie, Vetmeduni Vienna

T. +43 (1) 25077-7180

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