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News U2

News U2

Nb4D group- NANBIOSIS U2 receives the acreditation TECNICO, in the on line event organizes by ACCIO

Las November 27 was held the ACCIO ceremony (on line this year due to the Covid Pandemic restrictions) of disclosure of new TECNIO accreditations.

Aurea Rodriguez, Director of Business Innovation at ACCIO has welcomed the attendees to the event. Later, the TECNIO program Coordinator, Marta Peidro, presented the background and rationale for this accreditation for excellence groups in technology transfer in Catalonia. This year there have been five new groups from among all Catalan universities and research organizations, which have obtained the TECNIO accreditation for the first time, making a total of fifty-four groups accredited in 2020.

The event continued with the presentation of the five new accredited groups, starting with the IQAC-CSIC – CIBER-BBN Nb4D group, coordinator of NANBIOSIS unit 2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS) that investigates improvements to current clinical diagnostic methods.

After the presentations of the five new groups, the tools and benefits that ACCIO offers to TECNIO groups were explained and the event ended with a round of questions from the attendees, such as what will be the future financing strategy of ACCIO for TECNIO groups or how has it been the response to the recent call for INNOTEC grants

As expressed by Prof M. Pilar Marco: “This seal recognizes us as a tech-transfer agent with distinguishing technological capabilities and increases our visibility in front of the business world.”

ACCIÓ is the agency set up by the Catalan Government to make Catalan enterprise more competitive throughout the world. Its key aims are to drive innovation, internationalisation and attract inward investment. ACCIÓ is enterprise-centred, working on the needs of each individual business and to work hand in hand to look for opportunities and achieve that all important competitive edge. At ACCIÓ we believe this edge can come about with work on three vital areas of competitive dynamics: innovation, internationalisatio, attraction of investment. ACCIÓ is a proactive agency, with a simple, clear and efficient modus operandi, above all dedicated to working in close quarters with enterprise. ACCIÓ is based in Barcelona with an international network of a further 35 Business Promotion Centres covering some 80 markets worldwide. It provides advice and practical help for businesses with a vocation to expand worldwide. It focuses on attracting inward investment into Catalonia and also works on synergies between R+D+i areas and business.

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Nb4D group – NANBIOSIS Unit 2 CAbS – accredited with the TECNIO seal

The Nb4D group of CIBER-BBN and IQAB-CSIC, coordinator of NANBIOSIS Unit 2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS), has been accredited with the TECNIO seal.

This accreditation is the hallmark TECNIO granted by the Government of Catalonia, through ACCIÓ, to identify the developers and facilitators of differential technologies in Catalonia. TECNIO is the umbrella brand for catalan technology centres and university research groups dedicated to industrial research and technology transfer.


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Prof. Pilar Marco, in the program “Meridiano Turing” of RTVE explains the COVID-19 tests.

The last edition of the program “Meridiano Turing” of RTVE interviews Maria Pilar Marco Head of CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC group Nb4D and NANBIOSIS-ICTS Unit 2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS), Cesar Fernández (Head of the Chemical Transducers Group at IMB-CNM, CSIC) and María Cruz Minguillón (EGAR group at IDAEA)

Pilar Marco y César Fernández, the authors of the block of the CSIC’s report entitled “Containment and diagnosis“, explain wich is the best way to diagnose COVID and how reliable are the tests in this moment.

What is needed is to detect an infection -says Pilar Marco- is viral material and we have two types of tests to detect viral material:
– Those that detect the viral RMA, which is the genetic material of the virus. These test known as “PCR”, were the first to be used and are quite reliable PCR is a technology that expands the genetic material, making many copies what makes it possible to detect the viral material with very low viral load
– And during the month of September have became famous what are known as the “antigen tests” (they also came out at the beginning, but they were of low quality). These tests do not detect the genetic material but the structural proteins of the virus.

Serological tests should not be used to diagnose an infection because they do not detect the virus, what they detect is the reaction that the host has in the presence of an infection, that is, the antibodies that our body produces to defend itself against the infection and this occurs from the first moment but is not detectable until practically seven days after being infected. Therefore serological tests have limited utility to diagnose the infection, they serve to monitor the evolution and immunological status of the patient, if he is producing antibodies against the virus and how it evolves The virus remains elevated for months, but it does not mean that if you have had the disease and the rsults fo serological tests are negative, you are not prepared to face the virus, since we have memory cells that will surely produce antibodies again.

Cesar Fernández explains that the sample is the same in PCR and antigen tests, but the time it takes to obtain an answer is different. Both type of tests are recommended depending on the situation and the environment in which they are used, PCR tests have been used more massively and are more reliable in the sense that they let out much fewer positives, the number of false negatives they provide is very low, but they are also more expensive tests and need more time from the moment the sample is taken until the result is obtained (minimum 24 hours) since they are carried out in clinical analysis laboratories. The antigen tests can be carried out in 15-30 minutes in the place where the sample is taken and their cost is very low compared to that of the PCR, which is why they are very useful for screening studies of the levels infection that may exist in a community. Currently, work is being done on carrying out the antigen tests in saliva, this would facilitate the taking of samples and would not generate practically social rejection. Studies are also being done on the use of nasal smears in which the sample is taken at the beginning of the nasal cavity, resulting in much less annoying. Antigen tests due to their low cost and ease use open the possibility of performing in a very repetitive way.

Regarding the measurement of viral load, it is given by the PCR, while in the antigen tests the detection is visual, a colored line appears, similar to the pregnancy tests, with greater or lesser intensity, with which the information they give on viral load is semi-quantitative, that is, the interpretation is quite subjective.
The viral load of the disease appears a few days before sinthoms are shown (the peak is two days before) and can be spread to other people. This also occurs with asymptomatic infected people, with the only difference that, after this peak, the viral load falls very quickly and the disease does not appear.

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New updated version of the CSIC report on COVID-19

The report by Spanish Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) summarizng the most relevant scientific results on the Covid-19 pandemic.  “A global vision of the Covid-19 pandemic: What we know and what we are investigating from CSIC”, has just published its version number 4.

This report is structured in five blocks: prevention, disease, containment and diagnosis, treatment and vaccines, and global impact.

The containment and diagnosis block describes how the virus is transmitted in the air indoors and the analysis of wastewater as a system for early detection of SARS-CoV-2 is explained. In addition, the importance of diagnosis in the face of the pandemic is underlined and the different types of detection tests available and the diagnostic strategies to control the spread of the infection are detailed. The CIBER-BBN/IQAC-CSIC Nb4D research group and its research platform NANBIOSIS-ICTS Unit 2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS) takes and important role in this block.

Pilar Marco, Scientific Director of CAbS is co-author, toguether with Cesar Fernandez (IBM-CNM-CSIC) of the chapter 3.4 “The role of the Diagnosis in the face of pandemic” wich provides information on the types of tests, how to perform and how to use them for the different purposes for which  diagnosis is an indispensable tool. “From a broad perspective, we can  distinguish between two types of tests: A. Viral tests: they detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, include the well-known PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) or molecular tests, which detect the genetic material virus B. Test that detect the response of the human body to infection. They include so-called “serological tests, which detect antibodies produced by the patient’s immune system, although other types of biomarkers can also be detected.”

For further information and access to report: http://hdl.handle.net/10261/218312 

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NANBIOSIS Expertise in the IQAC-CSIC Symposium dedicated to the fight against Covid-19 Pandemic

The 4th Annual IQAC Symposium will take place on September 23, 2020. This year will be dedicated to the research projects on COVID-19 that are being carried out in the IQAC-CSIC. It will be a dissemination day aiming to inform the general public about some of the lines of research that are currently being developed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event will be live streamed in Facebook: facebook.com/iqac.csic.es/

Three of the speakers, members of CIBER-BBN NANBIOSIS units at IQAC-CSIC, will explain their work. Pilar Marco and Roger Galve (NANBIOSIS U2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS) will talk about “Wearable Devices for Detection rapid SARS-CoV-2” and Miriam Royo (NANBIOSIS U3 Synthesis of Peptides Unit shall inform about “Peptide-based chemical tools as diagnostic and therapeutic agents of COVID-19″

Further information and program: http://bit.ly/2ZLVT0o

The Institute for Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC) is one of the research centers of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The Institute is located in Barcelona and it was created in 2007 with the mission to perform research of excellence in Chemical Sciences with the broad goal of improving the quality of life. The research developed at IQAC is organized around two main nodes: Biological Chemistry and Nanobiotechnology, many of the investigations carried out by the Research Groups at IQAC lie at the intersection between nodes.

Since 2007 CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC have created four Units of equipment and resources for research wich are part of NANBIOSIS and have been recognized by Spanish Goverment as ICTS (scientific and technical infrastructures, unique in its kind, that are dedicated to high quality research and technological development). The other two units Besides U2 an U3 are: U12 Nanostructured liquid characterization unit, led by Prof. Carlos Rodriguez Abreu and Unir29 Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform (OSP), led by Prof. Ramón Eritja.

One on the projects in which NANBIOSIS units at CSIC are working in the fight against COVID-19 is CSIC POC4CoV project to develop diagnostic technologies for SARS-COV-2 in which participate 3 of our Units.

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NANBIOSIS U2 expands its capabilities with a two new equpipments

The U2 of NANBIOSIS, Custom Antibody Service (CAbS) has expanded its capabilities with two new equipment items an Automated microdispensing system for microarray technology and a Nitrogen Tank Cryomemo.

The Automated microdispensing system for microarray technology is a sciFLEXARRAYER S3 is an automated piezo driven, non-contact dispensing system of ultra-low volumes specifically designed as an economical entry unit for academia and R&D labs. It consists of XYZ-stages with spindle drives, a piezo dispensing unit and precision equipment for liquid handling. The system handles volumes from 50 picoliters up to several microliters. The S3 is suitable for the production  DNA, protein, glycan microarrays and biosensor loading, MALDI-MS sample preparation and target loading, accurate dilution series and addition of tiny aliquots, printing chemical libraries, spotting onto disc format (round targets) and customized targets, assay development and screening assays, microarray-based analysis

The Nitrogen Tank Cryomemo(Cryopal): the Cryomemo device is an electronic kit consisting of level and temperature indicators, and acontrol and configuration interface. It is used to control and regulate the nitrogen levels and temperature of cryogenic tanks (GT 40, Asperge, Espace and RCB) using sernsorand solenoid valves that control nitrogen intake andblowdown. It is also used to manage alarms.

This equipment have been confinanced by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Plurirregional Operational Program of Spain (POPE)2014-2020

European Regional Development Fund
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NANBIOSIS researchers featured in the 15th Edition of Spanish Researchers Ranking

The 15th edition of the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities has been published, ranking researchers in Spain as well as Spaniards doing research abroad. A total of 11 Directors of NANBIOSIS units appear on the most recent list, featured on the top 2000. The list is ordered by the h-index, a metric that calculates research impact based on a correlation of papers published and number of citations, and then by number of citations. The result is a list of whose’s publications have had more impact online.

NANBIOSIS researchers featured are Fernando Albericio (#207), scientific director of U3 Synthesis of Peptides Unit, Ramón Martínez Máñez (#342) U26 NMR: Biomedical Applications II, Jaume Veciana (#459) U6 Biomaterial Processing and Nanostructuring Unit, José Luis Pedraz (#906) U10 Drug Formulation unit, Jesús Santamaría (#912) U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit, Ramón Eritja (#1022) U29 Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform (OSP), Pablo Laguna (#1153) U27 High Performance Computing, Antoni Villaverde (#1249) U1 Protein Production Platform (PPP), Laura Lechuga (#1511) U4 Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit M.Pilar Marco (#1517), U2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS), and Josep Samitier (#1836) U7 Nanotechnology Unit.

This list reflects on the impact online publication can have as a tool to share knowledge. 

For further information: here

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New methods to detect Coronavirus: interactive webinar on the diagnosis of COVID-19

CSIC has orgnized an interactive webinar on new COVID-19 detection systems that brings together biotechnologist Luis Blanco, nanotechnologists Laura Lechuga and Pilar Marco, and physicist Javier Tamayo .

Researchers from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) will answer citizens’ questions about the diagnostic methods of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, in a webinar or interactive debate that will be broadcast on Wednesday, June 3, at 8:15 p.m., on the CSIC YouTube channel.

The meeting will feature the participation of biotechnologist Luis Blanco, the physicist Javier Tamayo and the nanotechnologists Laura Lechuga, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS unti 4 Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit and Pilar Marco, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS unit 2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS). The debate will be moderated by geneticist, biotechnologist and popularizer Lluis Montoliu, from the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC),

Questions can be sent in advance to the address webinar@csic.es, by twitter with the hashtag #CSICDiagnostico or during the broadcast via YouTube chat. After the broadcast, it will be hosted on the CSIC’s YouTube channel for consultation, such as previous discussions on prevention and de-escalation and treatments and vaccines.

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Pilar Marco explains on TV her group’s research against Covid-19 pandemic

M.-Pilar Marco, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit 2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS) has been interviewed on Spanish TV (RTVE) to talk about her research against the Covid-19 pandemic in the frame of the CSIC POC4CoV project, for the development of new and rapid diagnostic tools.

Nb4D group of CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC, led by Prof. Marco is working on the development of tests to increase the efficiency and speed of diagnosis of the methods currently on the market.

According to Pilar Marco, the new strategy of the project differs basically in two fundamental aspects: on the one hand the technology, which is based on the current knowledge of some of the CSIC’s research groups in micro and nano techno technology and, on the other hand, in the selection strategy of the antigens that will produce a more specific and sensitive response to the or SARS-COV-2.

The time required to develop these tests is relatively short since researchers have the advantage of having detection technologies already developed and tested in other types of projects, but even so, these tests need between 6 and 8 months of development to obtain the first prototypes that, obviously, will have to be validated so that they can be made available in the market in a safely. Therefore the new tests will help us to be much better prepared before the new waves of the pandemic expected by the epidemiologists.

The interview can be watched in the following link (0:41:50)

Further information on POC4CoV project here

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NANBIOSIS U2, U3 & U29 participate in the POC4CoV project to develop diagnostic technologies for SARS-COV-2

The Spanish Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) will finance the project Point-of-care tests for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 (POC4CoV), whose objective is to have effective diagnostic technologies for Covid-19. The Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM-CSIC), the Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC-CSIC) and the Institute of Materials Science of Aragon (ICMA) participate in it.

The POC4CoV project aims to develop Point-of-Care (POC) devices for the in vitro diagnosis of SARS-COV-2 infection quickly and reliably, thanks to the use of multiplexed systems and the use of particular biomolecular probes. To do this, POC technological platforms will be used in combination with specific capture biomolecules and nanobiotechnological probes (enzyme bioconjugates and biofunctional plasmonic and magnetic nanoparticles), which will allow the simultaneous detection of different biomarkers (viral RNA and antigens, IgM and IgG) related to Covid-19 disease. The biomolecular complexes will be collected at specific points on the devices where the electrochemical or optical signals will be recorded.

The developed POC platforms will undergo analytical and clinical validation in a clinical setting.

Three units of NANBIOSIS (form CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC) will will take an active participation in the project.

NANBIOSIS Unit 2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS), will produce antibodies against the Spike protein and other virus proteins, trying to maximize the recognition of those epitopes that differentiate SARS-CoV-2 from other Coronaviruses

NANBIOSIS Unit 3 Synthesis of Peptides Unit will synthesize peptidic sequences that will allow to identify towards which epitopes the immune response is directed, which will allow to develop more specific diagnostic methods.

NANBIOSIS Unit 29 Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform (OSP) has designed probes with oligonucleotide sequences that will allow the capture of viral RNA through the formation of high affinity triplex complexes

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