Clinical Virology and New Diagnostic Tools Group

Elisa Martró

The Clinical Virology and New Diagnostic Approaches Research Group was created in 2010 and promotes multidisciplinary translational research to improve the diagnostics, prognostics and management of infections caused by viruses and other pathogens that have an impact on clinical applications and public health. The Group is located in the Microbiology Service and the Clinical Laboratory North Metropolitan Area (LCMN) of the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital (Clinical Microbiology and Experimental Pathology Group. The complete group is recognized as a consolidated group by the Generalitat de Catalonia and together with the Centre for Epidemiological Studies of HIV and STIs of Catalonia (CEEISCAT), it belongs to Group 27 within the Epidemiology and Public Health Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERESP).

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The Clinical Virology and New Diagnostic Approaches Research Group publishes in several areas according to the lines of research detailed in the following section. Please see a list of publications by topic below.

Martró Gro

Research lines

1. Viral Hepatitis

Viral hepatitis is a global public health challenge, comparable to other major communicable diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. To meet this challenge, in 2016 the WHO launched the first Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis with the aim of eliminating viral hepatitis as a major public health threat, which is defined as achieving a 90% reduction in new chronic infections and a 65% reduction in mortality by 2030. In order to achieve these ambitious goals a rapid and massive scale-up of diagnosis and treatment rates are required.

  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV)

HCV chronic infection is characterized by a slow and silent progression, and it is the leading cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality worldwide due to HCV-related complications which include: cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and liver failure. With the advent of the highly-effective new antiviral drugs, HCV infection can currently be cured by antiviral treatment. However, many infected people are unaware of their infection and, therefore, are not eligible for treatment. This is especially relevant among certain hard-to-reach populations that often are the most affected, such as people who inject drugs.

The main research activity of our Group has focused on the molecular study of HCV and involves aspects of basic oriented, clinical and public health research, which have been developed through overlapping competitive research projects and collaboration agreements with industry.

Main research lines:

1) Study of the genetic variability of HCV and its clinical applications in personalized medicine

  • Prediction of response to antiviral treatments (baseline genetic diversity and resistance-associated substitutions)
  • Prediction of the progression of hepatic fibrosis
  • Accurate identification of HCV genotypes/subtypes by commercial assays

2) Characterization of the molecular epidemiology of HCV

  • Distribution of HCV genotypes and subtypes and description of new subtypes
  • Characterization of the HCV epidemics and its dynamics in key populations

3) Improvement of the diagnosis of active HCV infection among vulnerable populations

  • Design and application of new diagnostic assays and screening strategies in community settings
  • Promoting the micro-elimination of HCV in hard-to-reach populations: community prevention, screening, and linkage to care and treatment, and combating reinfection
  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV)

In 2018 the Group expanded its activity on HCV to include also HBV with two main activities:  

1) Design and application of new strategies for community prevention, screening, and linkage to care and treatment.

2) Assessment and improvement of vaccination needs in vulnerable populations.

2. Other infectious diseases

  • Molecular epidemiology of human Papillomavirus (HPV) and the Molluscum contagiosum virus, including the characterization of their clinical manifestations.
  • Development and validation of molecular assays for the diagnosis of sepsis and other infectious diseases in collaboration with industry. Sepsis is a time-dependent syndrome that represents the main cause of death by infection worldwide, therefore shortening the time to microbiological diagnosis saves lives.
  • Molecular epidemiology of tuberculosis: the experience of the Group on molecular epidemiology of viruses has also been applied to other clinically relevant infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, by implementing whole genome sequencing technologies for outbreak analysis and epidemiological surveillance purposes in collaboration with Dr. Cristina Prat’s group.
  • Epidemiology of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI): the prevalence of STIs is currently increasing worldwide. Our research group has optimized various diagnostic techniques adapted for minimally-invasive sampling (especially urine, saliva, and fingerpick blood) for the screening of STI in vulnerable populations attending alternative testing centers, contributing to their epidemiological characterization with public health applications.

Publications by research topic

See the list of all publications at the top of the page

Publications on hepatitis C virus

Publications on bloodstream infections/sepsis

Publications on human herpesviruses

Publications in diagnostics of HPV and other STI

Members of the Group

Elisa Martró(ELIMINAR), Group Leader and Principal Investigator
Verónica Saludes(ELIMINAR)
Sara González(ELIMINAR)
Adrián Antuori(ELIMINAR)

Current Research projects

Molecular epidemiology study of HCV reinfection in the Catalan Penitentiary System

Code: GLD18_00052
Principlal Investigator: Elisa Martró                                                                                             
Start Date: 01/01/2018
End Date: 31/12/2019

GILEAD becas investigacion

Pilot hepatitis C micro-elimination strategy in Pakistani immigrants in Catalonia through the implementation of a community intervention

Principlal Investigator: Elisa Martró                                                                                             
Start Date: 01/01/2018
End Date: 31/12/2019

Grup Consolidat Microbiologia Clínica i Patologia experimental

Code:2017 SGR 477
Principlal Investigator: Lurdes Matas                                                                                           
Start Date: 01/01/2017
End Date: 31/12/2019

Defining the best strategy for global HCV screening, linkage-to-care, education and prevention in PWID population
HCV CHIME program: Conquering Hepatitis vIa Micro-Elimination, Gilead Sciences, Inc (Foster City CA, EEUU)

Principal Investigator: Sabela Lens, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona
Start date: 01/01/2019
End date: 31/12/2020

Determinants and needs of sexual health in a multicentre cohort of transgender women and men who carry out sex work

Code: PI18/01481
Principal Investigator: Jordi Casabona
Start date: 01/01/2019
End Date: 31/12/2021

TESTATE VHC (Self sampling intervention and online result consultation: A new screening strategy to eliminate Hepatitis C virus among men who have sex with men in Catalonia Spain))

Gilead Science Europe Ltd.
Start Date: 01/11/2019
End Date: 31/10/2020
IP: Dr. Jordi Casabona

Cost-effectiveness of a community intervention versus a healthcare-based strategy for promoting the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis B and C in immigrants in Catalonia

PI: Elisa Martró
Projecte FIS PI19/0568 (ISC III)
Start date: 01/01/2020
End Date: 31/12/2022


- Research

Breaking barriers in hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment for populations at risk

A study with people who inject drugs evaluated a minimally invasive test based on dried blood spots (DBS) for the monitoring of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The use of DBS samples for HCV RNA detection and genotyping was shown to effectively assess cure after treatment and to differentiate between reinfection and treatment failure. The results support the viability of decentralizing treatment and post-treatment monitoring for people who inject drugs, who frequently face challenges accessing the healthcare system. The study has been published in the Journal of Medical Virology.

- Research

A community-based intervention for the micro-elimination of hepatitis C in the Pakistani population in Catalonia

Since 2019, around 1,000 immigrants from endemic countries have participated in a new model of diagnosis and management of viral hepatitis that has been designed by the Clinical Virology and New Diagnostic Approaches Research Group of the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP), in the Microbiology Service of the Germans Trial Hospital (headed by Dr. Elisa Martró), along with the Public and Community Health Team (eSPiC) of Drassanes-Vall d'Hebron International Health Unit.

More information


Elisa Martró

(+34) 93 497 88 94 Extension 3447