Animal experiments are controversially discussed in society. However, a minimisation of the number of animals used in experiments is a general consensus. The validity of data generated from animal experiments can only be assured if the health status of the laboratory animals is optimal. Our institute therefore participates in the establishment and optimization of test systems for the detection of viral pathogens in rodents in laboratory animal housing.

Development of multiplex diagnostic processes

Diagnostics of viral infectious agents in rodents


The research project aims at the development of innovative multiplex diagnostic methods for the detection of viral and bacterial infections in rodents in laboratory animal housing.


Maintaining and monitoring the optimal health status of rodents is a top priority in laboratory animal management. Following the recommendations of FELASA (Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations), a diagnostic guideline was developed for this purpose, which provides for regular screening (quarterly and annual examinations) for 24 bacterial and viral pathogens.

So far, there is no uniform standardisation of these tests, so that false-positive and false-negative results cannot be excluded. Within the scope of this project, innovative ELISA methods will be developed which allow the simultaneous diagnosis of different pathogens in a minimal sample volume. For this purpose, immunogenic epitopes of the respective pathogens will be identified by protein-chemical methods and then produced in high purity in the laboratory by recombinant protein expression. These will then be used to detect specific antibodies of the FELASA-listed pathogens.

Project leader

Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Vahlenkamp

Participating employees

TÄ Maxi Harzer

Dr. Kristin Heenemann

Dr. Antje Rückner

Dr. Michael Sieg


Fingas, F., Rückner, A., Heenemann, K., Volke, D., Sieg, M., Bielefeldt, P., ... & Hoffmann, R. (2018). Highly sensitive ELISA for the serological detection of murine rotavirus EDIM based on its major immunogen VP6. Journal of virological methods, 262, 72-78.


Cooperation partners

GVG Diagnostics GmbH, Leipzig

Institute for Bacteriology and Mycology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Leipzig

Institute for Bioanalytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy, Biotechnological-Biomedical Centre (BBZ), University of Leipzig



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