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Univ. Prof. Dr. med. vet. Paul Becher

Director of institute

Institute of Virology

Dept. of Infectious Diseases

University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation
Bünteweg 17
D-30559 Hannover


Phone:  +49 511 953-8840

Fax:        +49 511 953-8898

E-Mail:   Paul.Becher(at)

Main research interests

Pestiviruses (classical swine fever virus, bovine viral diarrhea virus, border disease virus, …)

  • evolution, genetic and antigenic heterogenicity, taxonomy
  • virus-host interactions, innate immunity
  • replication, cytopathogenicity, virulence
  • generation and characterization of  vaccine candidates
  • diagnosis, (molecular) epidemiology, control


Evolution and genetic variability of RNA viruses: biological significance and mechanisms

  • molecular basis of RNA recombination (identification of viral and cellular factors)
  • mechanisms  of viral RNA genome repair  


Virus discovery and characterization of novel viruses from domestic animals and wildlife

  • hepaciviruses, pegiviruses, other RNA viruses
  • RNA virus evolution
  • zoonotic potential, risk assessment


Development of vaccines and diagnostic tests

Curriculum Vitae

  • 1983 - 1989 Study of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
  • 1991 - 1994 Federal Research Center for Viral Diseases of Animals, Tübingen
  • 1994 Dr. med. vet., University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
  • 1995 - 2008 Institute of Virology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Justus-Liebig-University (JLU) Giessen
  • 2001 „Wissenschaftlicher Assistent“ (Assistant Professor)
  • 2003 “Habilitation” and venia legend for virology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, JLU Giessen (University lecturer)
  • 2004 „Fachtierarzt für Mikrobiologie“ (Specialist for Veterinary Microbiology)
  • 2008 “Außerplanmäßiger Professor“ (Associate Professor) for Virology at the JLU Gießen 2008
  • 2008 Heisenberg-Professor for Molecular Virology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
  • 2012 Full Professor for Virology and Director of the Institute of Virology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover

      Head of the EU & OIE Reference Laboratory for Classical Swine Fever in Hannover




  • 1996 Karl-Pfizer Young Scientist Award
  • 2003 Award of the German Veterinary Society
  • 2004 Research Award of Bayer AG and “Verein der Freunde und Förderer der Veterinärmedizin an der JLU Gießen e.V.“
  • 2006 Research Award of the Academy for Animal Health (Akademie für Tiergesundheit, AfT)    

Selected publications


Baechlein C, Fischer N, Grundhoff A, Alawi M, Indenbirken D, Postel A, Baron AL, Offinger J, Becker K, Beineke A, Rehage J, Becher P. 2015.

Identification of a Novel Hepacivirus in Domestic Cattle from Germany.

J Virol. 2015 Jul 15;89(14):7007-15. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00534-15. Epub 2015 Apr 29. PubMed PMID:25926652; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4473572.


Pannhorst K, Fröhlich A, Staubach C, Meyer D, Blome S, Becher P. 2015.

Evaluation of an Erns-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to distinguish Classical swine fever virus-infected pigs from pigs vaccinated with CP7_E2alf.

J Vet Diagn Invest. 2015 Jul;27(4):449-60. doi: 10.1177/1040638715592446. Epub 2015 Jul 15. PubMed PMID: 26179095.


Moennig V, Becher P. 2015.

Pestivirus control programs: how far have we come and where are we going?

Anim Health Res Rev. 2015 Jun;16(1):83-7. doi: 10.1017/S1466252315000092. PubMed PMID: 26050577.


Postel A, Pérez LJ, Perera CL, Schmeiser S, Meyer D, Meindl-Boehmer A, Rios L, Austermann-Busch S, Frias-Lepoureau MT, Becher P. 2015.

Development of a new LAMP assay for the detection of CSFV strains from Cuba: a proof-of-concept study.

Arch Virol. 2015 Jun;160(6):1435-48. doi: 10.1007/s00705-015-2407-1. Epub 2015 Apr 1. PubMed PMID: 25877822.


Corman VM, Grundhoff A, Baechlein C, Fischer N, Gmyl A, Wollny R, Dei D, Ritz D, Binger T, Adankwah E, Marfo KS, Annison L, Annan A, Adu-Sarkodie Y, Oppong S, Becher P, Drosten C, Drexler JF. 2015.

Highly divergent hepaciviruses from African cattle.

J Virol. 2015 Jun;89(11):5876-82. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00393-15. Epub 2015 Mar 18. PubMed PMID: 25787289; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4442428.


Luo Y, Li L, Austermann-Busch S, Dong M, Xu J, Shao L, Lei J, Li N, He WR,
Zhao B, Li S, Li Y, Liu L, Becher P, Sun Y, Qiu HJ. 2015.

Enhanced expression of the E(rns) protein of classical swine fever virus in yeast and its application in an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for antibody differentiation of infected from vaccinated animals.

J Virol Methods. 2015 May 21;222:22-27. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2015.05.006. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26005003.


Postel A, Schmeiser S, Oguzoglu TC, Indenbirken D, Alawi M, Fischer N, Grundhoff A, Becher P . 2015.

Close relationship of ruminant pestiviruses and classical swine fever virus.

Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Apr;21(4):668-72.


Pfaender S, Cavalleri JM, Walter S, Doerrbecker J, Campana B, Brown RJ, Burbelo PD, Postel A, Hahn K, Kusuma A, Riebesehl N, Baumgärtner W, Becher P, Heim MH, Pietschmann T, Feige K, Steinmann E. 2015.

Clinical course of infection and viral tissue tropism of hepatitis C virus-like non-primate hepaciviruses in horses

Hepatology. 2015 Feb;61(2):447-59. doi: 10.1002/hep.27440. Epub 2015 Jan
5. PubMed PMID: 25212983.


Meyer D, Schmeiser S, Postel A, Becher P.

Transfection of RNA from organ samples of infected animals represents a highly sensitive method for virus detection and recovery of classical swine fever virus.

PLoS One. 2015 May 11;10(5):e0126806. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126806. eCollection 2015. PubMed PMID: 25961582; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4427382.

Neill JD, Ridpath JF, Fischer N, Grundhoff A, Postel A, Becher P. 2014.

Complete genome sequence of pronghorn virus, a pestivirus.
Genome Announc. 2014 Jun 12;2(3). pii: e00575-14

Fahnøe U, Lohse L, Becher P, Rasmussen TB. 2014.
Complete genome sequence of classical Swine Fever virus genotype 2.2 strain Bergen
Genome Announc. 2014 May 29;2(3). pii: e00483-14

Becher P, Fischer N, Grundhoff A, Stalder H, Schweizer M, Postel A. 2014.

Complete Genome Sequence of Bovine Pestivirus Strain PG-2, a Second Member of the Tentative Pestivirus Species Giraffe
Genome Announc. 2014 May 15;2(3). pii: e00376-14

Vilcek S, Leskova V, Meyer D, Postel A, Becher P. 2014.
Molecular characterization of border disease virus strain Aveyron
Vet Microbiol. 2014 Jun 25;171(1-2):87-92


Postel, A., V. Moennig, P. Becher. 2013.

Classical Swine Fever in Europe - the current Situation

Berl. Münch. Tierärztliche Wochenschrift 126, 468-475.


Moennig, V., P. Becher, M. Beer. 2013.

Classical Swine Fever

Vaccines and Diagnostics for Transboundary Animal Diseases. Dev Biol (Basel). Basel, Karger, 2013, vol 135, pp 167-174.


Postel, A., S. Schmeiser, C.L. Perera, L.J.P. Rodriguez, M.T. Frias-Lepoureau & P. Becher. 2013.

Classical swine fever virus isolates from Cuba form a new subgenotype 1.4.

Veterinary Microbiology 161(3-4):334-338

Postel, A., V.C. Jha, S. Schmeiser, and P. Becher. 2013.

First molecular identification and characterization of classical swine fever virus isolates from Nepal.

Archives of Virology 158(1):207-210


Austermann-Busch, S. & P. Becher. 2012.

RNA structural elements determine frequency and sites of nonhomologous recombination in an animal plus-strand RNA virus.

Journal of Virology. 86(13):7393-402.

Postel, A., S. Schmeiser, J. Bernau, A. Meindl-Boehmer, G. Pridotkas, Z. Dirbakova, M. Mojzis & P. Becher. 2012.

Improved strategy for phylogenetic analysis of classical swine fever virus based on full-length E2 encoding sequences.

Veterinary Research 7;43(3):50.  PMID: 22676246.

Becher, P., S. Schmeiser, T.C. Oguzoglu, & A. Postel. 2012.

Complete Genome Sequence of a Novel Pestivirus from Sheep.

Journal of Virology 86(20): 11412


Lattwein, E., O. Klemens, S. Schwindt, P. Becher, and N. Tautz. 2012.

Pestiviral virion morphogenesis in the absence of uncleaved non-structural protein 2-3.

Journal of Virology 86(1): 427-437


Kautto, A.H., S. Alenius, T. Mossing, P. Becher, S. Belak, and M. Larska. 2012.

Pestivirus and alphaherpesvirus infections in Swedish reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus L.).

Veterinary Microbiology 156(1-2):64-71


Simmonds, P., Becher, P., Collett, M.S., Gould, E.A., Heinz, F.X., Meyers, G., Monath, T., Pletnev, A., Rice, C.M., Stiasny, K., Thiel, H.-J., Weiner, A., and Bukh, J.  2012.

Family Flaviviridae. In Virus Taxonomy. Ninth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

Edited by A.M.Q. King et al. Academic Press, San Diego, USA.  


Becher, P. and H.-J. Thiel. 2011.

Genus Pestivirus (Flaviviridae). In “Springer index of viruses“, second edition.

Edited by C. A. Tidona and G. Darai. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany; DOI 10.1007/978-0-387-95919-1.


Becher, P. and N. Tautz. 2011

RNA recombination in pestiviruses - cellular RNA sequences in viral genomes highlight the role of host factors for viral persistence and lethal disease.

RNA biology 8 (2): 216-224.


Lamp, B., C. Riedel, G. Roman-Sosa, M. Heimann, S. Jacobi, P. Becher, H.-J. Thiel, and T. Rümenapf. 2011.

Biosynthesis of classical swine fever virus nonstructural proteins.

Journal of Virology 85(7): 3607-3620.


Vilcek, S., K. Willoughby, P. Nettleton, and P. Becher. 2010.

Complete genomic sequence of a border disease virus isolated from Pyrenean chamois.

Virus Research 152(1-2): 164-168.

Pankraz, A., S. Preis, H.-J. Thiel, A. Gallei and P. Becher. 2009.
Single Point Mutation in Nonstructural Protein NS2 of Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus Results in Temperature-Sensitive Attentuation of Viral Cytopathogenicity.

Journal of Virology, 83(23): 12415-12423


Gallei, A., S. Blome, S. Gilgenbach, N. Tautz, V. Moennig, and P. Becher. 2008.
Cytopathogenicity of classical swine fever virus correlates with attenuation in the natural host.

Journal of Virology 79: 9717-9729.


Choi, K. H., A. Gallei, P. Becher, and M. G. Rossmann. 2006.
The structure of bovine viral diarrhea virus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and its amino terminal domain.

Structure 14: 1107-1113.


Gallei, A., S. Widauer, H.-J. Thiel, and P. Becher. 2006.
Mutations in the palm region of a plus-strand RNA virus polymerase result in attenuated phenotype.
Journal of General Virology
87: 3631-3636.


Marschang, R. E., S. Braun, and P. Becher. 2005.
Isolation of a ranavirus from a gecko (Uroplatus fimbriatus).
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
36: 295-300.


Gallei, A., T. Rümenapf, H.-J. Thiel, and P. Becher. 2005.
Characterization of helper virus independent cytopathogenic classical swine fever virus generated by an in vivo RNA recombination system .
Journal of Virology 79: 2440-2448.


Pankraz, A., H.-J. Thiel, and P. Becher. 2005.
Essential and nonessential elements in the 3' nontranslated region of bovine viral diarrhea virus.
Journal of Virology 79: 9119-9127.


Gallei, A., M. Orlich, H.-J. Thiel, and P. Becher. 2005.
Noncytopathogenic pestivirus strains generated by nonhomologous RNA recombination: alterations in the NS4A/NS4B coding region.
Journal of Virology 79: 14261-14270.


Becher, P. and H.-J. Thiel. 2005.
Impfung gegen Bovine Virusdiarrhoe/ Mucosal Disease (BVD/MD): Gegenwärtiger Stand und Perspektiven.

Tierärztliche Umschau 9/2005: 463-468.


Gallei, A., A. Pankraz, H.-J. Thiel, and P. Becher. 2004.
RNA recombination in vivo in the absence of viral replication .
Journal of Virology
78: 6271-6281.


Makoschey, B., P. Becher, M. G. J. Janssen, M. Orlich, H.-J. Thiel, and D. Lütticken. 2004.
Bovine viral diarrhea virus with deletions in the 5'-nontranslated region: reduction of replication in calves and induction of protective immunity.
Vaccine 22: 3285-3294.


Lackner, T., A. Müller, A. Pankraz, P. Becher, H.-J. Thiel, A.E. Gorbalenya, and N. Tautz. 2004.
Temporal modulation of an autoprotease is crucial for replication and pathogenicity of an RNA virus.
Journal of Virology
78: 10765-10775.


Becher, P. , R. Avalos Ramirez, M. Orlich, S. Cedillo Rosales, M. König, M. Schweizer, H. Stalder, H. Schirrmeier, and H.-J. Thiel. 2003.

Genetic and antigenic characterization of novel pestivirus genotypes: implications for classification.
311: 96-104.


Arias, P., M. Orlich, M. Prieto, S. Cedillo Rosales, H.-J. Thiel, M. Alvarez, and P. Becher. 2003.
Genetic heterogeneity of bovine viral diarrhoea viruses from Spain.
Veterinary Microbiology
96: 327-336.


Müller, G., S. Groters, U. Siebert, T. Rosenberger, J. Driver, M. König, P. Becher, U. Hetzel, and W. Baumgärtner. 2003.
Parapoxvirus infection in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) from the German North Sea.
Veterinary Pathology
40: 445-454.


König, M., S. Cedillo Rosales, P. Becher, and H.-J. Thiel. 2003.
Heterogenität ruminanter Pestiviren: Akademisches Interesse oder wichtige Grundlage für die Entwicklung von Impfstoffen und Diagnostika?
Berl. Münch. Tierärztliche Wochenschrift
116: 216-221.


Becher, P. , M. König, G. Müller, U. Siebert, and H.-J. Thiel. 2002.
Characterization of sealpox virus, a separate member of the parapoxviruses.
Archives of Virology 147: 1133-1140.


Becher, P. , H.-J. Thiel, M. Collins, J. Brownlie & M. Orlich. 2002.
Cellular sequences in pestivirus genomes encoding gamma-aminobutyric acid (A) receptor-associated protein and golgi-associated ATPase enhancer of 16 kilodaltons.
Journal of Virology
76: 13069-13076.


Becher, P. and H.-J. Thiel. 2002.
Genus Pestivirus (Flaviviridae).
In “Springer index of viruses“, pp. 327-331. Edited by C. A. Tidona and G. Darai. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany.


Becher, P., M. Orlich, and H.-J. Thiel. 2001.
RNA recombination between persisting pestivirus and a vaccine strain: generation of cytopathogenic virus and induction of lethal disease.
Journal of Virology
75: 6256-6264.


Avalos-Ramirez, R., M. Orlich, H.-J. Thiel, and P. Becher. 2001.
Evidence for the presence of two novel pestivirus species.
286: 456-465.


Becher, P., M. König und H.-J. Thiel. 2001.
Bovine Virusdiarrhö und Mucosal Disease: Molekularbiologie des Erregers, Pathogenese, Labordiagnostik und Bekämpfung.
Tierärztliche Praxis 29 (G), 266-275.


Kümmerer, B. M., N. Tautz, P. Becher, H.-J. Thiel, and G. Meyers. 2000.
The genetic basis for cytopathogenicity of pestiviruses.
Veterinary Microbiology
77: 117-128.


Becher, P., M. Orlich, and H.-J. Thiel. 2000.
Mutations in the 5´ nontranslated region of bovine viral diarrhea virus result in altered growth characteristics.

Journal of Virology 74: 7884-7894.


Baroth, M., M. Orlich, H.-J. Thiel, and P. Becher. 2000.
Insertion of cellular NEDD8 coding sequences in a pestivirus.
Virology 278: 456-466.


Schmitt, J., P. Becher, H.-J. Thiel, and G. M. Keil. 1999.
Expression of bovine viral diarrhoea virus glycoprotein E2 by bovine herpesvirus-1 from a synthetic ORF and incorporation of E2 into recombinant virions.
Journal of General Virology
80: 2839-2848.


Marschang, R. E., P. Becher, H. Posthaus, P. Wild, U. Müller-Doblies, H.-J. Thiel, E. F. Kaleta, and L. N. Bacciarini. 1999.
Isolation and characterization of an iridovirus from Hermann´s tortoises (Testudo Hermanni).
Archives of Virology
144: 1909-1922.


Becher, P., M. Orlich, M. König, and H.-J. Thiel. 1999.
Nonhomologous RNA recombination in bovine viral diarrhea virus: molecular characterization of a variety of subgenomic RNAs isolated during an outbreak of fatal mucosal disease.
Journal of Virology
73: 5646-5653.


Becher, P., M. Orlich, A. Kosmidou, M. König, M. Baroth, and H.-J. Thiel. 1999.
Genetic diversity of pestiviruses: identification of novel groups and implications for classification.
262: 64-71.


Becher, P., M. Orlich, and H.-J. Thiel. 1998.
Complete genomic sequence of border disease virus, a pestivirus from sheep.
Journal of Virology
72: 5165-5173.


Becher, P., M. Orlich, and H.-J. Thiel. 1998.
Ribosomal S27a-coding sequences upstream of ubiquitin-coding sequences in the genome of a pestivirus.

Journal of Virology 72: 8697-8704.


Becher, P., M. Orlich, A. D. Shannon, G. Horner, M. König, and H.-J. Thiel. 1997.
Phylogenetic analysis of pestiviruses from domestic and wild ruminants.
Journal of General Virology
78: 1357-1366.


Becher, P., G. Meyers, A. D. Shannon, and H.-J. Thiel. 1996.
Cytopathogenicity of border disease virus is correlated with integration of cellular sequences into the viral genome. Journal of Virology 70: 2992-2998.


Elbers, K., N. Tautz, P. Becher, D. Stoll, T. Rümenapf, and H.-J. Thiel. 1996.
Processing in the pestivirus E2-NS2 region: identification of proteins p7 and E2-p7.
Journal of Virology
70: 4131-4135.


Meyers, G., N. Tautz, P. Becher, H.-J. Thiel, and B. Kümmerer. 1996.
Recovery of cytopathogenic and noncytopathogenic bovine viral diarrhea virus from cDNA constructs.
Journal of Virology 70: 8606-8613.




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