Department of Epidemiology

The department is headed by Professor T.A. Semenenko, Doctor of Medical Science, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

The department was established in 1945. Its main research directions were established by O.V. Baroyan, Academician of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences, and include topical problems of general and disease-specific epidemiology.  A number of prominent scientists worked in the department for many years: Professor V.I. Vasilyeva, winner of the State Prize of the Russian Federation; professors L.A. Genchikov, R.A. Kantorovich, L.A. Rvachyov, N.N. Kostyukova, and A.A. Shatkin. Until recently, the department was headed by Professor I.V. Tarasevich, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, one of the world’s leading rickettsiologists.

Laboratory for Molecular Epidemiology of Nosocomial Infections

The laboratory is headed by M.Y. Chernukha, Doctor of Medicine.

It was created in 2000 by merging the Laboratory for Epidemiology of Nosocomial Infections and the Laboratory for Analytical Microbiology.  For almost two decades, the laboratory was headed by I.A. Shaginyan, Doctor of Medical Science.

The laboratory carries out work in the following scientific areas:

  • Study of the patterns of the epidemiology of nosocomial infections and resulting mortality in hospitals of various types;

  • Study of the mechanisms of the emergence, formation and spread of epidemically significant strains of causative agents of nosocomial infections;

  • Development of molecular genetic methods for the identification and typing of pathogens of bacterial infections.

In the course of a study on the state of health of the population carried out from 1996 to 2000, an increase in nosocomial infections was noted in hospitals of various types in Russia; Molecular genetic methods obtained direct evidence of two main mechanisms causing hospital outbreaks:

  • the transfer of an epidemic strain into the hospital;

  • the formation of an epidemic strain in a hospital due to the transfer of virulence and antibiotic resistance plasmids to strains of certain genetic variants.

Molecular genetic methods have been developed for the identification and typing of a number of causative agents of nosocomial infections: S. aureus, P. aerugenosa, B. cepacia, K. pneumoniae, S. enteritidis and M. tuberculosis.

The laboratory carries out the following types of diagnostic tests:

  • Bacteriological studies: dysbacteriosis, extended bacteriological studies of the genitourinary system (including identification of the causative agents of gonorrhea and trichomoniasis by culture methods), the respiratory system, skin and subcutaneous tissue;

  • Genetic typing of pathogens of nosocomial infections using molecular genetic methods based on PCR and pulse electrophoresis.

The laboratory participates in Russia’s Federal System for External Quality Assessment of Clinical Laboratory Research.

The laboratory is ideal for the training of young scientific personnel in the field of molecular epidemiology (it offers postgraduate studies and work specializing in modern molecular genetic methods).

Laboratory for Non-Specific Prevention of Infectious Diseases (with an epidemiological cybernetics group)

The laboratory is headed by Professor T.A. Semenenko, Doctor of Medical Science, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

It was created in 1990 in response to the development in many countries of a new direction in medicine: the use of medications that increase the body’s natural resistance in order to prevent human infectious diseases.

The laboratory conducts research in the following main areas:

  • Study of the immunological and epidemiological effectiveness of drugs as a means of non-specific prevention of infectious diseases of various kinds and their influence on the dynamics and nature of the epidemic process;

  • Study of the spread of markers of the Hepatitis B and C viruses in medical institutions of various profiles and the development of optimal tactics for the prevention of these infections.

It has been established that the use of immunomodulatory drugs (including interferon inducers) is an important component of a system of anti-epidemic measures. An optimal strategy for the use of means of nonspecific prophylaxis of infectious diseases, taking into account epidemiological indications, is being developed through the use of controlled randomized epidemiological studies. The laboratory uses an array of informative tests for assessing the immune status of a person and identifying serological markers of infection, alongside methods of epidemiological analysis.  The possibilities of increasing the effectiveness of vaccination with the help of immunomodulatory drugs (restoration of  disturbed adequate immune response and enhancement of the immunogenicity of vaccine preparations) are being studied.

The laboratory carries out the following types of diagnostic tests:

  • Immunological studies (specific antigenic markers of lymphocytes CD3, CD4, CD8, CD16, CD19; immunoglobulins A, M, G; circulating immune complexes; absorption capacity of neutrophils);

  • Serological tests (markers of Hepatitis A - anti-HAV IgM, B - HBsAg with a confirmatory test, anti-HBs, anti-HBc, HBeAg, anti-HBe, C - anti-HCV, D - anti-HDV; IgM and IgG antigens and antibodies to herpes simplex viruses types 1 and 2; IgM and IgG antibodies to Treponema pallidum).

The laboratory is registered in Russia’s Federal System for External Quality Assessment of Clinical Laboratory Research.

The epidemiological cybernetics group is conducting research on the methods and theory for creating highly complex mathematical models of human infectious pathology - from the initial concept in creating a predictive model of the epidemic process to the testing of a computer model. Based on the results of many years of research, a series of mathematical models and computer programs have been created for the epidemic processes of anthroponosis (human → human), zoonoses (pet → human) and sapronosis (natural environment → human) with different mechanisms of transmission of the causative agent.

Over the past decade, the laboratory has achieved the following:

  • The creation of mathematical models of epidemic (epizootic) processes to study the patterns of the spread of infectious diseases with social implications;

  • The development of predictive models for the spread of drug addiction and HIV infection among drug addicts in large cities of Russia.  Prognostic models for drug epidemics (heroin, opiates and other types of drugs) have been proposed in order to search for new approaches and ideas to increase the effectiveness of measures to combat and prevent drug addiction among young people;

  • The development of methodology and mathematical models for the rapid analysis and forecasting of the consequences of the spread of especially dangerous infections in order to create a counteractive system that will protect the population from acts of bioterrorism.

Laboratory for Epidemiology of Opportunistic Infections

The laboratory is headed by N.V. Karazhas, Doctor of Biological Science.

The main scientific directions of the laboratory are: the study of current opportunistic infections: herpesvirus from type 1 to 8, including CMVI and EBI (mononucleosis, Burkitt's lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma), as well as pneumocystosis and the identification of their contemporary epidemiological patterns.

Pneumocystosis is a difficult-to-diagnose disease that is clinically manifested by severe atypical pneumonia or broncho-pulmonary symptoms and is caused by an opportunistic pathogen, the extracellular parasite Pneumocystis carinii, which is taxonomically related to sporozoan fungi.  This is a classic opportunist which manifests itself only against a background of immunodeficiency. Pneumocystis pneumonia complicates the course of the terminal stage of AIDS, cancer and hematological diseases.

Test systems for enzyme immunoassay and immunofluorescence analysis have been developed and successfully tested using technology created and patented by the laboratory for accumulation of Pn.carinii, and the antigen obtained. This has allowed the detection of IgG and IgM antibodies and Pn.carinii antigens.

The use of an array of diagnostic methods has made it possible to study the prevalence of Pn.carinii among the Russian population, as well as in high-risk groups.  The essential role of Pn.carinii in the etiology of acute and atypical pneumonia has been determined.

Enzyme immunoassay and immunofluorescent methods perfected in the laboratory have helped to establish the scale of the spread of CMVI among the Russian population and its role in perinatal infection of the fetus.

The specific gravity of CMVI and pneumocystosis in pathology has been determined in different categories of patients with a state of immunodeficiency.

The laboratory carries out the following types of diagnostic tests:

  • Identification of cytomegalovirus in vitro using the cell culture method in patient samples (blood, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, saliva, lavage);

  • Identification of CMV antigens (early and general) in patient samples using the IFA method;

  • Identification of antibodies to CMV of IgG and IgM classes using the immunofluorescence method and ELISA;

  • Identification of the EBV antigen using the IFA method;

  • Identification of antibodies to EBV: IgG to the nuclear protein NA, IgG to early Ag-EA and IgM antibodies to the capsid antigen;

  • Identification of IgG antibodies to HHV-6 in the course of infection using ELISA;

  • Identification of HHV-6 antigens in patient samples using the IFA method;

  • Detection of pneumocysts in bronchial lavages and sputum via assessment of cell morphology and the IFA method;

  • Identification of antibodies to Pn.carinii of IgG and IgM classes using ELISA and immunofluorescence analysis.

The laboratory can participate in joint projects to study the epidemiological situation in regions, cities, and in distinct groups, as well as in the diagnosis of these infections in the population, in hospitals, in different groups of children and adults.


CMV and CMVI - cytomegalovirus (infection)

EBV - Epstein-Barr virus

EBI - Epstein-Barr virus infection

HHV-6 herpes simplex virus type 6 infection

IFA - indirect reaction of immunofluorescence

ELISA - enzyme immunoassay