Main position/role: Head of the German National Reference Center for Measles, Mumps and Rubella, Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany
|Her professional live has been driven by the wish to analyse factors that make microorganisms to pathogens. She started her career investigating different types of porcine circoviruses, tiny single-stranded and circular DNA viruses. Interestingly, infection with type 1 leaves pigs perfectly fine while type 2 induces a severe wasting disease in young pigs (PMWS). Apparently, co-factors such as immune-stimulation or other infections seem necessary for development of this severe and multisystemic disease. Annette Mankertz is a professor for molecular virology at Free University Berlin. She became interested in measles, mumps and rubella and started to study molecular signatures of circulating wildtype viruses in comparison with the attenuated live vaccines. She was appointed as the head of the German National Reference Center (NRC) for Measles, Mumps and Rubella at the Robert Koch-Institute in Berlin. NRC focus on specialized diagnostic and molecular characterization of the etiological agent of interest. Globally, more than 100 NRC perform molecular surveillance of circulating measles and rubella strains to support the elimination program of the WHO. Sequences are submitted to international data repositories in order to follow transmission chains in real-time modus. These data provide important information to assess the progress of elimination in a certain region. Elimination may be verified when virus variants are no longer detected than 12 months. Since global vaccination campaigns resulted in a loss of more and more measles virus variants circulating, new tools must be applied to follow virus transmission in a more detailed fashion.