Scientific-Technological Services

Coordinator: Dr Lidia Ruiz


Sample Processing & Conservation Service

Head of Department: Eulàlia Grau

The Retrovirology laboratory was opened in 1993, processing and conserving biological samples of patients affected with HIV. At present, the laboratory contains 26,000 cell samples, 55,500 plasma samples and 10,500 serum samples. These samples pertain to a total of 7,000 patients who have participated or currently participate in different clinical or scientific studies, with the aim of improving the patient’s immune system and quality of life by means of controlling the replicative activity of the HIV virus. The IrsiCaixa research groups use these samples in their individual projects.


The service currently processes an average of 350 samples per month in 40 different studies. 



Sequencing Service

Head of Department: Teresa Puig

The technique of HIV genotyping to determine resistance to antiretroviral treatments has been a key feature of our laboratory since its inception. At first it was an experimental technique, used only with patients as part of clinical trials; but it soon proved to be very useful for optimizing antiviral treatments. As a result, the need arose to create a sequencing service with the aim of providing access to these tests for all patients. 


This is how the Sequencing Service started out in 1999, an out-patient service receiving samples from Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital and other public and private centers. Since 2002, the tests are financed by the Catalan Health Service, which designated IrsiCaixa as a reference center for regions 4, 6 and 7 (Girona, Barcelonés Nord and Maresme and Centre, respectively). As well as its role in out-patient care, the Sequencing Service also participates in research projects and clinical trials, in collaboration with other groups and pharmaceutical companies.


The Service performs the resistance to antiretrovirals determination (RT-PROT and integrase) and HIV genotypic tropism from plasma. In cases of patient samples with low viral load or previously non-assessable results, tests can also be performed from PBMC or plasma with low viral load (ultracentrifugation).


In order to guarantee the quality of results, the Service is subject to frequent external quality control checks (QCMD, ENVA HIV-1 Drug Resistance Genotyping Proficiency Programme).