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Posts Taged covid-19

“Have we lernt the lesson?”

Heraldo de Aragón publishes today an opinion article written by Jesús Santamaría, Scientific Director of Nanbiosis U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit about the COVID19 Pandemic in the relation with the investment in R&D.

The proffesor at the University of Zaragoza makes a quick review on the
the main milestones reached by researchers to fight the COVID 19: “In early December some Wuhan residents start to get sick after visiting a local market, with what looked like flu symptoms. Nevertheless, Chinese health officials report to World Health Organization on New Year’s Eve that a group of patients presented a new type of pneumonia. Just two weeks later, a Shanghai lab published the genome sequence of the virus, and explained its differences from other coronaviruses. It was an advance decisive that allowed laboratories around the world to undertake frenetic investigations in different lines of action: development of PCR diagnostic tests, rapid diagnostic kits (there are already various on the market), mechanisms of infection (researchers Chinese publish an article on March 4 in the journal ‘Science’ revealing the role of the ACE2 protein in cell invasion) or possible therapies: several rapidly developing vaccines (the main race is between teams from China and the United States, but almost all developed countries have very advanced projects, including Spain), and therapeutic alternatives such as the one published by German scientists on March 20, also Science Journal, based on the blockade of an essential enzyme for the coronavirus” In summary, “research is producing spectacular results with unusual speed“, sais Santamaría and explains: – “This dizzying display of world-class science has been possible in countries with a powerful scientific structure, with the muscle to respond quickly to a crisis caused by an unknown pathogen. In Spain there have been relevant contributions, but in general, far from the world front line. In fact: Spain’s R&D effort continues at just over 1.2% of GDP, compared to 2.07% for the EU average or 3% for Germany, even behind countries such as Portugal or Hungary. In others countries, -continous the proffessor- even during the 2008 economic crisis there was commitment to science and technology as a way of progress. This is also the case in countries that not so long ago we considered technologically backward.  In the case of China, the evolution has been amazing”, -confirms the rearcher according his experience as Editor of an excellent scientific journal for more than 20 years where most of the articles had a signature from that country. – “Hopefully this crisis will help us to change. To believe in research again as a seed of progress. And to demonstrate it with sustained investments, and giving it the central role it deserves.”

The proffessor ends his article quoting the words of the activist Mary Lasker: “If you think research is expensive, try the disease.”

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CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST FOR FINANCING OF RESEARCH PROJECTS ON COVID-19

The Spanish Official State Bolletin of March 18, 2020 published the Royal Decree-Law establishing measures to support research on COVID-19, including the authorization of an extraordinary credit for direct grants for research projects and programs of the COVID-19.
The Carlos III Heath Institute (ISCIII) calls for the presentation of expressions of interest to promote knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 and the CoVid disease19, as well as its impact on infected people. The aim of the proposals shall be to contribute to an efficient treatment of patient and / or public health rresponse. Proposals must be appropriate to the emergency situation and, therefore, allow immediate implementation and start-up in the National Health System, with concrete, early results applicable to the current situation. These proposals may be based on currently existing activities.
The scope of these proposals shall be:
a) Rapid virological diagnostic techniques of COVID-19, industrially scalable and applicable to healthcare, with priority orientation towards the diagnosis of the early stages of infection in humans and that allow predicting severity for the purpose of healthcare stratification.
b) Clinical-biological-molecular characterization of the COVID-19 disease, stages, prognostic stratification and complications.
c) Development of innovative therapies, new antiviral, antiseptic and disinfectant molecules against SARS-CoV-2. Antiviral resistance studies. Effectiveness of non-pharmacological, prophylactic and therapeutic interventions.
d) Characterization of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, knowledge of the genetic and antigenic variation of SARS-CoV-2 as well as the immunological response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the virus-host interaction.
e) Vaccine development, efficacy and applicability.
f) Epidemiological surveillance of COVID-19 and molecular epidemiology: incidence of mortality and morbidity. Environmental and social factors of the spread. Risk factors and population dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
g) Socio-economic impact of COVID-19. Use of primary care resources, general hospital resources, and critical care resources.
h) Artificial intelligence and massive analysis of integrated data oriented to the epidemiological control of the disease COVID-19.
Applicants must take into account that the proposals financed under this expression of interest must comply with the provisions of the corresponding concession resolution, without prejudice to the additional measures that may be incorporated in order to guarantee the early execution of the projects, open access. to data and obtaining useful results for the immediate fight against this disease.
 
More information and expression of interest form here

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Laura Lechuga talks about CONVAT, the project for a faster and cheaper diagnose of COVID-19

Prof. Laura M. Lechuga, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit 4 Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit (from CIBER-BBN and ICN2-CSCIC) has been today interview by Cadena Ser Radio in the program “Hoy por Hoy”

The interview can be listened in the following podcast, begining at 44 minute.

‘Convat’ is a nanotechnological device with biosensors capable of determining in less than half an hour the presence of coronavirus in a person. A sample saliva is deposited on a nanochip three centimeters long. If the saliva contains the virus, it will bind to antibodies located on the nanochip. A beam of light will be passed through the device so that the light will change if it encounters the virus and antibody in its path. The light will be analyzed automatically and the result will be transmitted to a smartphone or tablet. In less than 30 minutes a positive or negative result would be obtained and, in case of detecting the presence of the virus, in another 30 minutes at most the reconfirmation would be obtained. It is not intended for domestic use, but neither will a specialist technician be needed and it could be carried out in a massive way.

Simpler, cheaper and easier than current methods, this rapid diagnostic kit will not be ready for the first wave of the coronavirus, but it can be useful to detect it later if this virus is here to stay.

Yesterday, Laura Lechuga was also invited to explain the CONVAT project to the spanish television programe “A partir de hoy“.

‘Convat’, la prueba que puede detectar el coronavirus

https://twitter.com/FAQSTV3/status/1238968335192162306

Prof Laura Lechuga was also interviwed by TV3 in the program Planta Baixa 

More information here

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COVID-19 diagnose, faster and cheaper.

In order speed up research into the coronavirus, the European Commission recently announced a special call for projects to tackle the COVID-19, based on already developed technologies. Projectcs were prepared in a record time and 17 proposals have been awarded founds, 6 of them with spanish colaboration and only one coordinated by Spain

CONVAT is a cooperation project between Spain, Italy and France coordinated by Prof. Laura M. Lechuga, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit 4 Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit (from CIBER-BBN and ICN2-CSCIC) and also participated by the group of Prof. Jordi Serra Cobo from the University of Barcelona, having extensive experience in the study of coronavirus in animals and its epidemiology; Prof. Remi Charrel‘s laboratory at the University of Marseille (France), leader in virology and molecular biology, pioneering the development and production of biological material for the validation of new diagnostic systems and the Italian National Institute of Infectious Diseases (INMI), where researchers from Dr Antonino Di Caro‘s laboratory were among the first to sequence the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and which is the reference institute for the analysis and diagnosis of COVID-19

CONVAT will develop a point-of-care platform, for rapid diagnosis and monitoring of coronavirus, directly from the patient’s sample and without the need for testing in centralized clinical laboratories. The new device based on optical biosensor nanotechnology is espected to become massively available in less than 12 months. The project indeed aims to extend beyond the current pandemic and the human diagnosis. The new biosensor will also be used for the analysis of different types of coronavirus present in reservoir animals, such as bats, in order to observe and monitor possible evolutions of these viruses and prevent future outbreaks in humans

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