OrganoVIR aims to make organoids a superior model for virus research and to transform the virology landscape

OrganoVIR is a Horizon2020 Innovative Training Networks (ITN) programme that will train young researchers to lead innovation in the field of organoids for virology in Europe. OrganoVIR has started in January 2019 and will run until December 2022. 

OrganoVIR is studying several highly prevalent viruses with limited availability of antiviral treatment or vaccine using newly established human organoids.  Organoids will be used for the first time to study human viral infections in their natural environment. By introducing and establishing human organoids as superior models for viral pathogenesis studies and antiviral testing, OrganoVIR will help to reduce and replace animal experiments in different research fields.

In parallel, OrganoVIR is training young researchers to enable them to lead innovation in the field of organoids for virus research.  In combination with a novel pre-MBA programme, OrganoVIR will deliver well-rounded individuals trained in organoids for virus research, that will hold a unique position within the European labour market.

RIVM’s contribution

RIVM coordinates work package 5 (WP5) together with the Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing (dsRAT). WP5 is very important to create widespread support of the non-animal methods being used, which is needed to have an impact in the field of virology and beyond. Three ESRs will conduct a secondment at RIVM focusing on:

  1. setting up organoids at the RIVM/Cib/IDS for culturing of new picornaviruses discovered through molecular methods in clinical material/sewage to establish public health relevance with the EV surveillance (polio eradication programme) and the ILI and ARI surveillance. 
  2. strengthening syndromic surveillance of skin-related viral diseases, such as Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.
  3. political, social and ethical aspects of organoid technology (with dsRAT). 

RIVM colleagues involved are Kimberley Benschop, Erwin Duizer and Adam Meijer.


OrganoVIR has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 812673.