Human Virology


We perform molecular epidemiology studies to identify and characterize novel viruses in human and animal hosts of Argentina in accordance with the One Health guidelines, an international initiative that promotes the interdependence between human and animal health, and its link with the environment. For this, we carry out interdisciplinary studies that integrate molecular virology, bioinformatics, ecology, human medicine, veterinary medicine and epidemiology in order to understand and analyze the viral diversity in different hosts and biological samples through the application of conventional molecular methods developed by the group and metagenomic approaches. The ultimate goal is to expand the knowledge on the phylogeny, the taxonomy and evolutionary history of the newly identified viral genomes, to promote surveillance and conservation, and to facilitate the diagnosis of those viruses that are of interest for human and animal health.

Research Lines

Molecular epidemiology of viral infections and technological development for diagnosis

We conduct clinical studies to characterize the epidemiology of human papillomavirus (HPV) in mucosal epithelia and the association of HPV with the development of benign and malignant skin lesions, with an interest in the identification and molecular characterization of novel types. The family Papillomaviridae is one of the largest and most heterogeneous families of viruses infecting eukaryotic organisms whose members establish different interactions with the host, ranging from asymptomatic infections to cancer. To contribute to the taxonomy and to complete the evolutionary history of the family Papillomaviridae we extended our studies in wild animals of Argentina using various methodological tools to identify and characterize novel types of different genera and species. Tests developed within the framework of these projects have served as a platform for the creation of DETx MOL S.A. ( and have been extended to other viruses that cause human diseases. We are currently developing a SARS-CoV-2 protein detection kit using aptamers as molecular sensors. In this context, the interaction of the research group with the company constitutes a virtuous circle that increases and facilitates the opportunities in establishing technological links between the academy and the productive sector.

Metagenomic approaches for the identification and evolutionary analysis of new viruses

The use of deep sequencing platforms combined with bioinformatics programs has accelerated the discovery of new viruses in all ecosystems, providing new paradigms in viral taxonomy and changing the perception of viruses as sources of deadly threats to potential determinants of human and animal welfare. We apply these tools to respond to different problems that include: 1) the characterization of the virome of non-invasive biological samples collected from wild animals of Argentina with the aim of discovering new viruses, contributing to viral taxonomy, zoonotic virus surveillance and the conservation of threatened species; 2) genomic surveillance studies of SARS-CoV-2 in different sequencing platforms to learn about the circulating variants in Southern Santa Fe province and their evolutionary histories in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as member group of the PAIS Project (; 3) the characterization of the cutaneous virome in health (healthy skin) and disease (psoriasis) in patients attending the Hospital Provincial del Centenario of Rosario through a case-control study with the aim of exploring potential risk factors that trigger the development of the disease and/or promote the exacerbation of the lesions.

Selected Publications

  • Viral Metagenomic Data Analyses of Five New World Bat Species from Argentina: Identification of 35 Novel DNA Viruses. Microorganisms. 10(2),266. Bolatti, E. M., Viarengo, G., Zorec, T. M., Cerri, A., Montani, M. E., Hosnjak, L., Casal, P. E., Bortolotto, E., Di Domenica, V., Chouhy, D., Allasia, M. B., Barquez, R. M., Poljak, M., and Giri, A. A. (2022).
  • Cost-Effective Method to Perform SARS-CoV-2 Variant Surveillance: Detection of Alpha, Gamma, Lambda, Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta in Argentina. Front Med (Lausanne). 8,755463. Torres, C, Mojsiejczuk, L., Acuña, D., Alexay, S., Amadio, A., Aulicino, P., Debat, H., Fay, F., Fernández, F., Giri, A. A., et al. (2021).
  • A Preliminary Study of the Virome of the South American Free-Tailed Bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) and Identification of Two Novel Mammalian Viruses. Viruses. 12,422. Bolatti, E. M., Zorec, T. M., Montani, M. E., Hošnjak, L., Chouhy, D., Viarengo, G., Casal, P.E., Barquez, R.M., Poljak, M. and Giri, A.A. (2020).
  • Assessing Gammapapillomavirus infections of mucosal epithelia with two broadspectrum PCR protocols. BMC Infectious Diseases. 20,274. Bolatti, E. M., Hošnjak, L., Chouhy, D., Casal, P. E., Re-Louhau, M. F., Bottai, H., Fujs Komloš, K., Poljak, M. and Giri, A. A. (2020).
  • High prevalence of Gammapapillomaviruses (Gamma-PVs) in pre-malignant cutaneous lesions of immunocompetent individuals using a new broad-spectrum primer system, and identification of HPV210, a novel Gamma-PV type. Virology. 525,182-191. Bolatti, E. M., Hošnjak, L., Chouhy, D., Re-Louhau, M. F., Casal, P. E., Bottai, H., Kocjan, B. J., Stella, E. J., Gorosito, M. D., Sanchez, A., Fernandez-Bussy, R., Poljak, M, Giri, A. A. (2018).
  • Natural history of human papillomavirus infection of sun-exposed healthy skin of immunocompetent individuals along three climatic seasons and identification of HPV209, a novel BetapapillomavirusJ Gen Virol. 98,1334–1348. Bolatti, E. M., Chouhy, D., Hošnjak, L., Casal, P. E., Kocjan, B. J., Bottai, H., Stella, E. J., Sanchez, A., Fernandez-Bussy, R., Poljak, M. and Giri, A. A. (2017).
  • Characterization of novel human papillomavirus types 157, 158 and 205 from healthy skin and recombination analysis in genus γ-Papillomavirus. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 42,20-29. Bolatti, E. M., and Chouhy, D., Casal, P. E., Perez, G. R., Stella, E. J., Sanchez, A., Gorosito, M., Fernandez-Bussy, R., Giri, A. A. (2016).
  • Evidence for Homologous Recombination in Chikungunya Virus. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 85,68-75. Casal, P. E., Chouhy, D., Bolatti, E. M., Perez, G. R., Stella, E. J. and  Giri, A. A. (2015).

For a complete list, check my Scopus profile

Twitter: @VirologyIBR