Robert Koch Institut (RKI)

Robert Koch Institut (RKI) is the central federal institution for disease control and prevention and therefore the central governmental reference institution for applied and response-oriented research as well as for Public Health. Amongst other departments for infection control and health protection, it hosts the German Centre for Biological Threats and Special Pathogens (Zentrum für Biologische Gefahren und Spezielle Pathogene, ZBS) that was established in response to the bioterrorist attacks in the USA in 2001. In the EDEN project ZBS will be the main contributor. The central tasks of ZBS are focused on issues of biological security. The centre’s tasks include, in close cooperation with the other departments of RKI, diagnostics of relevant pathogens and the development of concepts for identifying attacks with biological agents using epidemiological analyses and investigative epidemiology. ZBS routinely collaborates with the relevant institutions for civil defense, with federal states and town councils (including institutions for civil protection). ZBS operates in accordance with the Federal Ministry of Health at an international level, particularly within the EU.

Activities in EDEN:

RKI has a wide expertise in the following fields which can contribute to the developing process of EDEN:

-     Sample collection and detection of biothreat agents,

-     Scenario modeling for bioterrorist attacks,

-     Risk assessment of biological threats,

-     Establishing information networks and cooperation between scientific and public authorities,

-     Coordination of actions against bioterrorist pathogens,

-     Recommendations and guidelines for unusual epidemic events,

-     Assessment of requirements for diagnostics, disinfectants and medical countermeasures,

-     Processing of scientific data,

-     Data collection and evaluation of characteristics of biothreat agents and countermeasures,

-     Providing biothreat-related information to political decision makers, the scientific community, and crises managers.


RKI collaborates with the EU Network on Bioterrorism (BICHAT) in accordance with the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and with the Public Health directorate of the European Commission. It also has contacts with the corresponding civil and military institutions both within and outside the EU, with WHO, FAO and other UN institutions, as well as cooperation with relevant national and international scientific institutions. RKI is part of national and international specialists’ forums.