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Maria Söderlund-Venermo, PhD, Adj. Professor, University lecturer
Department of Virology, University of Helsinki, Finland




Clinical impact and epidemiology of emerging human parvoviruses

Modern sequencing methods have revealed an expanding range of novel human parvoviruses. In 2005, parvovirus 4 (PARV4) was discovered in blood, and human bocavirus 1 (HBoV1) in pediatric respiratory samples. PARV4 is, in the western world, mainly detected in injecting drug users and hemophiliacs, but has not been associated with any specific symptoms, whereas HBoV1 causes mild to life-threatening respiratory tract infections in children. Three more bocaviruses (HBoV2–4) were discovered in stools, without clear clinical associations. Bufavirus (BuV), discovered in 2012, was the first human parvovirus in the Protoparvovirus genus followed by two other novel viruses, tusavirus (TuV) in 2014 and cutavirus (CuV) in 2016. These three protoparvoviruses were all originally discovered in feces of diarrheic children, and BuV has been associated with gastrointestinal symptoms. CuV was additionally observed in 4 cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) skin lesions and in one melanoma. Our research group develops a complete repertoire of methods for detection and accurate diagnosis of infections by these emerging viruses, providing insight into virus occurrence and epidemiology, as well as data of disease associations and clinical impact.



Maria Söderlund-Venermo obtained her PhD at the University of Helsinki, Department of Virology, Helsinki, Finland in 1996.  She was a visiting scientist at University College London, UK, and did her post-doctoral training at the Departments of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Missouri-Columbia, MO, USA. She is a specialist in clinical microbiology and adjunct professor since 2002, and is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Helsinki Medical Faculty, Department of Virology. Her research interests include clinical and molecular virology, with the main focus on parvovirus B19, human bocavirus, and the emerging human parvoviruses. She is further a current member of the ICTV Parvoviridae Study Group and of the Managing Committee of the World Society for Virology (WSV). She has supervised 11 PhD and 11 MSc students, and 5 more are ongoing. Currently she has 130 peer-reviewed articles and a H-index of 34.