Diphtheria in federal asylum centers

Two diphtheria outbreaks occurred in a Swiss asylum center from July to October 2022, one is still ongoing. Outbreaks mainly involved minors and included six symptomatic respiratory diphtheria cases requiring antitoxin. Phylogenomic analyses showed evidence of imported and local transmissions of toxigenic strains in respiratory and skin lesion samples. Given the number of cases and the large genetic diversity accumulating in one centre, increased awareness and changes in public health measures are required to prevent and control diphtheria outbreaks. Read more.


IFIK supports the efforts of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit for the victims of the war in Ukraine.

The IFIK offers rapid COVID PCR testing for the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) so that SHA personnel can travel to the area of operation within the shortest possible time. It is important for the SHA to send only COVID-negative personnel abroad in this tense situation. IFIK's rapid analysis helped Switzerland to provide rapid and effective assistance on the ground.

Why SARS-CoV-2 replicates better in the upper respiratory tract

What happens in our airways after infection with SARS-CoV-2? Researchers from the Institute of Infectious Diseases (IFIK) at the University of Bern and the Swiss Federal Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) have been able to show how the virus replicates in the respiratory tract and how the innate immune response there reacts. The findings can be used to develop antiviral drugs and preventive measures.

Link to the webpage of the University of Bern:

Results of 501Y mutation screening by RT-PCR of SARS-CoV-2 positive samples analyzed at IFIK.

Unique biosafety laboratory in Switzerland up and running

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