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What we do

The operations of the Centre of Excellence in Infections and Microbes includes, for example, laboratory and high security laboratory operations, contingency planning and scientific research.

Laboratory operations

As a result of decades of close collaboration between Tyks Laboratories and the University of Turku, the Centre of Excellence in Infections and Microbes has become a nationally significant centre of diagnostics. Before any COVID-19 tests were performed, the number of tests analysed annually was over 400,000 and, with COVID-19 tests included, the number is almost double, up to 700,000.

Our expertise is apparent in the diagnosis of coronavirus infections, as our in-house test was ready for use even before the epidemic hit Finland. In addition to HUSlab and the national laboratory of the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Tyks Laboratories was the only laboratory that could detect coronavirus infections at the very beginning of the pandemic.

The product range of the laboratory includes nearly 400 clinical microbiology analyses and provides comprehensive clinical microbiology services. Our high-security laboratory allows for analysing highly infectious and dangerous microbes, such as live coronaviruses.

In addition to our laboratory, there are only few clinical laboratories that diagnose the microbiomes of patients around the world.

High-security laboratory operations

Preparing for epidemics and pandemics caused by microbes plays a key role in providing rapid diagnostic methods for preventing such epidemics and pandemics. In most cases, any microbes that constitute a threat of a pandemic are classified as pathogens that require a high level of biosafety at an early stage. 

In 2018, the Hospital District of Southwest Finland and the University of Turku established a BSL3 (Biosafety level 3) laboratory that brings together diagnostics and research to allow for preparing for and reacting to microbes that constitute a threat, including, for example, carrying out quick measures required by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The operating models deployed can be applied to any pathogen that constitutes a threat, promoting diagnostic capacity and the implementation of vaccination programmes considerably. The high-security laboratory is important for national contingency planning and preparedness.

Our hospital has extensive potential for developing rapid diagnostic methods for practically any type of new pathogen.

Clinical treatment and clinics

Turku University Hospital Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine is the only unit that provides inpatient care for children and young people with infectious diseases. The most severe cases of paediatric infections are treated at the department. The Turku University Hospital Paediatric Ward carries out about 1,000 inpatient care periods related to infectious diseases every year, in addition to which infectious diseases are treated at the Paediatric Haematology Ward, Neonatology Ward and Paediatric Surgery Ward.

The department provides joint emergency services for children and young people, used by 20,000 patients every year. More than half of these cases are caused by infections. The Paediatric Infection Clinic also treats children with chronic infectious diseases and immunodeficiencies from the catchment area for highly specialised medical care and, to a certain extent, outside the area. The diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of patients is based on current researched information and, in most cases, our own research.

The diagnosis and treatment of adult patients with severe infections is carried out by the Turku University Hospital Infectious Diseases Ward. In addition to patients with infectious disease, the ward also treats patients undergoing investigations to determine their underlying disease. The expertise of the infectious diseases section also comprises the examination and treatment of patients with immunodeficiencies. The development of researched information and examination methods related to immunodeficiencies is also rapid.

The most common types of patients and infectious diseases studied and treated at the outpatient clinic are:

  • HIV-positive patients
  • Patients with chronic and non-specific fever
  • Borreliosis
  • Immunodeficiency patients
  • Infections in travellers and immigrants
  • Further treatment and monitoring of severe infections that require hospitalisation
  • Infections caused by foreign objects.

The ward received the Achiever of the Year award in 2003 and 2021 as recognition of the successful treatment related to the SARS epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic, respectively.

The clinical microbiology ward has also received multiple Achiever of the Year awards, most recently in 2021 as recognition of the successful treatment related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The wellbeing services county has treated about 500 patients with COVID-19 over the two years of the pandemic. We are pioneers in treating COVID-19.

Turku University Hospital Dermatology Ward provides treatment to patients with ulcers and severe skin diseases. Patients with chronic skin diseases may also require inpatient care due to treatment fatigue.

The duration of an average treatment period at our ward is about a week. The aim is to carry out diagnostics and determine the appropriate mode of treatment during the period. The focus is on the patients’ self-care and instructing the persons assisting the patient at home. Our working group includes a social worker.

The professionals of the Centre of Excellence in Infections and Microbes provide active consultation to support the treatment of infections. Adult infection patients are treated at many wards.

Department of Hospital Hygiene and Infection Control

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 disease borne by it have been not only a global crisis but a reminder of the significance of microbes and the infectious diseases they cause. The changes may be rapid and the scale of impacts can be large in terms of human lives, various functions and the economy.

Microbes and infections must be monitored, controlled and treated all the time. There must be potential for developing and applying currently existing diagnostic methods aimed against mutating and previously unknown microbial pathogens. 

Healthcare-associated infections:

  • About 50,000 cases per year in Finland
  • Contributes to 1,500–5,000 deaths per year
  • Postoperative infections most common.


Preparing for the threats caused by infectious diseases and controlling an infectious disease that has spread in the population have been important before, but they gained more attention thanks to the current pandemic. Close collaboration between Turku University Hospital and the University of Turku has made it possible to educate the staff actively and relatively extensively in controlling dangerous microbes and treating patients with infectious diseases.

We have extensive potential for developing rapid diagnostic methods for new pathogens.

Education and communications

Hundreds of dissertations related to medical microbiology, virology, infectious diseases and children’s infectious diseases have been published in Turku over the decades. At the moment, there are more than 50 registered doctoral researchers in the study groups of the applicant unit.

Multidisciplinary operations

The Microbe Centre’s activities are based on long-term collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Turku, the microbiology services provided by the Turku University Hospital and the hospital’s clinical units involved in patient care. The Microbe Centre co-operates with Auria Biobank and the Turku Centre for Biotechnology.

Scientific research

The research carried out by the Centre of Excellence improves the rapid diagnostics of infectious diseases and treatment based on current guidelines as well as the efficiency of preventative work, thus promoting the quality of treatment and patient safety. European networks and researcher exchanges help transmit expertise and the most recent researched information related to the field.

The operations of the Centre of Excellence in Infections and Microbes are based on high-quality scientific research.