Crisis management function: risk identification and response
· Development, optimization, validation and performance of diagnostic analyses intended to identify and characterize the properties, transmission routes, etc. of (new) pathogens in humans, animals, food and the environment, in an outbreak situation or if such diagnostics are not being conducted elsewhere.
· Participation in the Biological Emergency Response team (part of the Environmental Accident Service) with regard to the protocol for suspicious objects, the design of CBRN protective equipment, and the national laboratory network (LLN-ta) concerned with the threat of bioterrorism (with particular reference to highly pathogenic agents (BSL-3).
· Participation in risk identification structures (general, antimicrobial resistance, hospital infections, zoonoses) and collation of reports or indications received through personal networks.
· Participation in the incident response structure (OMT/BAO) for which the CIb is also responsible.
Surveillance and reference tasks
· Surveillance activities to monitor changes in the populations of pathogens in humans, animals, food and the environment.
· National, European (NRL) and international reference tasks, to include non-human reference tasks further to European Regulation (EC) no. 882/2004 (microbiological criteria for feed and food products) and human reference tasks commissioned by the World Health Organization.
· Participation in molecular epidemiological analyses designed to develop further knowledge of the transmission, sources, resistance or potential impact of pathogens, whereby genetic information is linked to epidemiological information.
· Immunological research and sero-surveillance intended to identify the risk profile of infectious diseases in relation to the immune response of human subjects. The emphasis is on the diseases included in the National Vaccination Programme.
· Statutory investigatory tasks, including a role as secondary assessor to the NVWA (food safety) and ILT (water safety).
· Active participation in the standardization programmes at national (NEN), European (CEN) and international (ISO) levels, as member or chair of committees or workgroups.
· Storage of biological materials in ‘biobanks’ for the purposes of follow-up and reference research.
Research and Innovation
· Microbiological and immunological research to determine the effects of interventions, thus enabling more efficient control or a better response to future outbreaks and incidents.
· Research intended to increase the effectiveness of vaccination programmes.
· Development and implementation of new molecular techniques and (strain) typing methods to support pathogen and immunological surveillance, molecular epidemiology, the laboratory reference tasks, diagnostics and infectious disease control.
· Participation in research consortia (such as ZonMw) where the research is relevant to CIb’s core functions.
· Participation in, or coordination of, laboratory platforms for knowledge exchange and innovation in areas such as biobanks, molecular science (e.g. the Whole Genome Sequencing platform) and functional response.
In 2022 RIVM will relocate to its new premises in Utrecht Science Park and create a centralized, shared laboratory facility.