Other research lines

Lentiviral diseases of small ruminants

The research on these diseases carried out by the Centre has been a pioneer in Spain and has achieved important results, among which it is worth highlighting, apart from carrying out the first national description of Maedi-Visna in sheep in the country, the development of studies on its prevalence, the identification of the clinical and pathological forms affecting both sheep and goats, the mode of action of the virus in its various stages during infection, the development of new diagnostic tools (a recombinant protein ELISA test) and, finally, the development and application of control systems appropriate to local sheep farming systems. As a result of the control plans established in 2006, the first Maedi-Visna-free flocks in Aragon have been qualified, and they are also the first to be so qualified in Spain. All this work has been carried out thanks to the support provided by several European research projects (Development and evaluation of a novel molecular diagnostic test for the detection of maedi-visna virus infection, AIR3-CT94-1492, of which the University of Zaragoza was the general coordinator of the whole project; Lentiviruses of sheep and goats: pathogenesis, diagnosis and prevention, COST 834/97; Evaluation of lentivirus DNA vaccination strategies in sheep, QLK2-CT-2002-0061) and national (Contribution to the diagnosis of lentivirus in small ruminants, AGL2000-1489-C02-02; Comparative study of the sensitivity and specificity of a new serological diagnostic technique (ELISA) in small ruminants, INIA RTA01-107-C3-2; Pathogenesis of maedi-visna virus in sheep epithelia; Role of third eyelid biopsy, AGL 2003-08977-C03-02 / GAN; Maedi-visna virus: diagnosis, pathogenesis, genetics and epidemiology. Study of the interaction of Maedi-Visna with sheep scrapie, AGL2006-13410-C06-02/GAN, Study of the interaction of Maedi-Visna and scrapie in sheep, AGL2007-66874-C04-02/GAN). The collaboration of the Department of Agriculture and Food of the Government of Aragon has also been decisive.


At present, the research group is actively working on the detection and surveillance of suspected cases of rabies (UZ-MARM service contract for the analysis and diagnosis of animals suspected of rabies).New studies are currently being carried out on the immunogenic capacity of the vaccines currently used in Spain and the different factors that influence it. 


The diagnosis and typing by PCR of the different species of mycobacteria (Mycobacterium bovis, M. tuberculosis, M. avium avium, M. avium silvaticum and M. hominisuis) responsible for re-emerging diseases such as human and animal tuberculosis, and animal paratuberculosis, in controversy still over their possible relationship with Crohn’s disease in humans, has also been standardized.

Q fever

Another line of research developed in collaboration with the research group of the University of Lleida directed by Prof. Fernando Lopez Gatius and the participation of researchers Joan Tutusaus and Irina García Ispietro, has been the study of Q fever in cattle, caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetti, a zoonotic agent transmissible from animals to humans.

Clostridium difficile

The study of Clostridium difficile, a pathogen also transmissible between animals and humans, is beginning in collaboration with a research group from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Complutense University and the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid, with the upcoming incorporation of medical and veterinary researchers from other European countries within the framework of a European Project.

Other emerging diseases

Methodologies are also being developed to study emerging or re-emerging diseases such as West Nile Disease, Influenza, Peste des Petits Ruminants and Rift Valley Disease. Some of these studies are planned to be carried out in collaboration with the group of experts on pathogen-transmitting vectors at the University of Zaragoza.