Laboratory of Influenza Evolutionary Variability

Director — Mikhail Yu. Eropkin, Dr.Biol.Sci.

Dir.  telephone: +7 (812) 499–15–23

Lab. telephone: +7 (812) 499-15-22


The Laboratory of Influenza Evolutionary Variability was founded in 1967. From 1967-1990, the laboratory was headed by professor T. Y. Luzyanina, Ph.D. and S. S. Galitarov, MD, PhD. Since 1972, the laboratory has been part of the Russian Federal and National Influenza Centers. The main role of the laboratory is etiological surveillance of influenza in Russia and St. Petersburg.

Main activities

The laboratory’s main activity is participation in surveillance of influenza in Russia, namely, isolation and antigenic analysis of circulating strains in order to monitor trends in viral evolution and to forecast the most likely etiological agents of future influenza epidemics.  Etiological surveillance of influenza in Russia includes: study of influenza viruses circulating in the country; comparison of viruses under study with international standards in order to identify directions of influenza evolution in Russia.

Analysis is carried out in conjunction with support bases located in various Russian cities. Current information about viruses newly isolated in Russia, and their various antigenic structures, is continuously provided to the Russian Ministry of Health, as well as to UK and USA World Health Organization influenza reference centers. Based on such data, recommendations are formulated for the strain composition of influenza vaccines and diagnostic products for the upcoming epidemic season. The laboratory is constantly improving methods for isolation of influenza virus and study of its fundamental biological properties. The laboratory was the first in Russia to systematically apply methods which present antigen analysis data in an antigen mapping format.  In addition to antigen analysis by traditional hemagglutination inhibition reaction, staff have used microneutralization methods since 2017 insofar as modern strains of influenza A (H3N2) show low hemagglutinin titers.

The laboratory hosts a collection of acute respiratory viruses featuring more than 7,000 human influenza virus strains, isolated from 1934 to the present, as well as about 100 strains of animal influenza. In total, the collection has more than 30,000 items and includes adenoviruses, herpes viruses, parainfluenza viruses, coronoviruses, and respiratory syncytial viruses (more than 3,500 units of overall storage). Viruses are stored at 4°C as lyophilized preparations in sealed glass ampoules in accordance with biological safety standards. The collections support research and activities that produce diagnostic products and reference strains for vaccine development.

The laboratory actively exchanges strains and diagnostic reagents with WHO influenza collaborative centers in the United States (CDC, Atlanta) and the United Kingdom (Worldwide Influenza Centre, F. Crick Inst., London). The laboratory is one of the key Russian participants in the WHO Regional Office for Europe sentinal surveillance system, and it is a member of the Global European Virus Archive (EVAg). Advanced training courses, as well as individual training for virologists from CIS countries under the auspices of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, are conducted through the laboratory.


  • Rapid isolation and full-length genome sequencing (in cooperation with the Lab. of Mol. Virology and Genetic Engineering) of A/Chicken/Kurgan/5/05(H5N1), a highly pathogenic strain isolated in the Kurgan region, and several related isolates
  • Etiological analysis of the A(H1N1)pdm09 swine flu (2009-2011) pandemic in Russia
  • Investigation of pandemic virus biological properties
  • Two patents have been granted for methods which increase the effectiveness of antiviral drugs, either due to combination with antioxidants (rimantadine), or by conjugation with polymeric carriers (arbidol).
  • Discovery and study of broad antiviral activity of fullerenol C60(OH)18-24, including patent approval
  • Acceptance as a full partner into the Global European Virus Archive international consortium (EVAg); recipient of EU grant (H2020-INFRARIA EVAg 653316, 2015-2019)
  • Study of the in vitro toxicity and antiviral activity of the peptide-based drug novematin (featuring a fragment of the influenza virus PB1 protein)

Current international grants

  • "Maintenance of influenza surveillance capacity in Russia” (grant  NU51IP000854-01)
  • Global European Viral Archives grant (EU H2020-INFRARIA EVAg 653316, 2015-2019)


  • Water soluble arbidol polymer complexes

M.Y. Eropkin, M.V. Solovskiy, M.Y. Smirnova, E.F. Panarin, O.I. Kiselev, T.S. Bryazzhikova, T.M. Gudkova
(patent for innovation 2394618 according to application 2008127672 dated 07/07/2008; registered July 20 2010; published July 20, 2010; bulletin number 20)

  • A tool with antihypoxic and cytoprotective activities used to reduce the toxicity of rimantadine during influenza treatment

E.M. Eropkina, O.I. Kiselev, M.Y. Eropkin, I.A. Tveryanovich

(Russian patent 2302236; published in “Innovation Bulletin” number 19; 2007)

  • Water soluble polymeric antibiotic/aminoglycoside complexes and low molecular weight copolymers of acrylamide and (meth) acrylic acid for them

M.V. Solovskiy, M.Y. Eropkin, E.M. Eropkina, O.I. Kiselev, E.F. Panarin, I.I. Gavrilova, E.L. Shultseva
(Russian patent 2006105573/04 (006029) dated February 22, 2006)


Selected publications

A. Komissarov, A. Fadeev, S. Petrov, M. Sergeeva, K. Sintsova, A. Egorova, M. Pisareva, Z. Buzitskaya, T. Musaeva, D. Danilenko, P. Petrova, K. Stolyarov, E. Smorodintseva, E. Burtseva, K. Krasnoslobodtsev, E. Kirillova, L. Karpova, M. Eropkin, A. Sominina, M. Grudinin. Rapid spread of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses with a new set of specific mutations in the internal genes in the beginning of 2015/2016 epidemic season in Moscow and St. Petersburg (Russian Federation). Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses. – 2016. – V. 10(4). – P. 247-253. DOI: 10/1111/irv12389

F. Xavier López-Labradora, Angels Natividad-Sanchoa, Maria Pisareva, Andrey Komissarov, Karina Salvatierra, Artem Fadeev, Andrés Moya, Mikhail Grudinin, Javier Díez-Domingo, Olga Afanasieva, Nadezhda Konovalova, Anna Sominina, Joan Puig-Barberà. Genetic characterization of influenza viruses from influenza-related hospital admissions in the St. Petersburg and Valencia sites of the Global Influenza Hospital Surveillance Network during the 2013/14 influenza season. J. Clinical Virology. – 2016. – V. 84. – P. 32–38. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcv2016.09.006

E.B. Tarabukina, M.V. Solovskii, V.P. Pautov, A.I. Amirova, N.V. Zakharova, M.J. Smirnova, T.D. Anan’eva, R.I. Imanbaev, M.Y. Eropkin, E.M. Eropkina. Physicochemical, molecular and biological properties of complexes formed between aminoglycoside antibiotics and some anionic copolymers of acrylic series. Part II. J. Bioactive and Compatible Polymers. – 2015. – V. 30 (6). – P. 571-583. First published July 6 2015. DOI: 101177/0883911515592258

B.F. Koel, D.F. Burke, T.M. Bestebroer, S. van der Vliet, E. Skepner, N.S. Lewis, M.I.J. Spronken, C.A. Russel, M.Y. Eropkin, A.C. Hurt, I.G. Barr, J.C. de Jong, G.F. Rimmelzwaan, A.D.M.E.Osterhaus, R.A.M. Fouchier, D.J. Smith. Substitutions near the receptor binding site determine major antigenic change during influenza virus evolution. Science. – 2013 – V. 342. – P. 976–979. DOI: 10.1126/science.1244730;

Anna Sominina, Elena Burtseva, Mikhail Eropkin, Ludmila Karpova, Vladimir Zarubaev, Elizaveta Smorodintseva, Nadezhda Konovalova, Daria Danilenko, Alexandra Prokopetz, Mikhail Grudinin, Maria Pisareva, Pavel Anfimov, Kirill Stolyarov, Oleg Kiselev, Elena Shevchenko, Valeriya Ivanova, Svetlana Trushakova, Nataliya Breslav, Dmitriy Lvov, Alexander Klimov, Ann Moen, Nancy Cox. Influenza surveillance in Russia based on epidemiological and laboratory data for the period from 2005 to 2012. American J. Infect. Dis. – 2013. – V. 9, No.3. – P. 77–93. DOI: 10.3844/ajidsp.2013.77.93

E.A.Gould, Lamballerie, B.Goutard, A.R. Fooks, M. Outlaw, C. Drosten, S. Guenther, B. Klempa, D. Pinschewer, T. Avsic-Zupanc, C. Sabeta, A. Lukashev, M. Eropkin et al. The European Virus Archive: A new source for virology research. Antiviral Res. – 2012. – V. 95., No. 2. – P. 167–171

M.Y. Eropkin, D.M. Danilenko, N.I. Konovalova, A.V. Ivanova, T.M. Gudkova, A. Grigorieva. Pandemic influenza 2009 in Russia: isolation, antigenic analysis, and biological properties of viruses. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses. – 2011. – V. 5 (Suppl. 1). – P. 416–418. DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00225x

D.M. Danilenko, T.D. Smirnova, T.M. Gudkova, M.Yu. Eropkin, O.I. Kiselev. Differential cell culture susceptibility and proliferative response to avian, human, and swine influenza viruses. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses. – 2011. – V. 5 (Suppl. 1). – P. 54–59. DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00209x

L.B. Piotrovsky, M.A. Dumpis, E.V. Litasova, M.Yu. Eropkin, E.M. Eropkina, O.I. Kiselev. Dependence of biological effects of fullerene C60 in vitro from the type of preparations. Fullerenes, Nanotubes and Carbon Nanostructures. – 2011. – Vol. 19. – No. 1. – P. 147–153