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Posts Taged covid-19

Nanbiosis among the European Research Infrastructures working for COVID-19 Pandemics

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several research infrastructures (RIs) NANBIOSIS among them, have set up specific services, such as rapid or fast track access, to allow researchers to obtain results as soon as possible.

The Association of European-Level Research Infrastructures Facilities (ERF-AISBL), collects the relevant information about the initiatives on a dedicated website.

NANBIOSIS provides rapid access for COVID-19 research. The ICTS offers preclinical stages services of biomedical product development, specifically, synthesis and preparation of biomolecules like antibodies, peptides, recombinant proteins, oligonucleotides for diagnostic therapeutic and prophylactic purposes.

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COVIDー 19: diagnosis advantages and limitations of different techniques

Prof. Laura Lechuga, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS U4 Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit of CIBER-BBN and ICN2-CSIC, who is coordinating the European proyect CONVAT for rapid diagnosis and monitoring of COVID ー 19, will be one of the speakers at the webinar organized next tuesday, 16 by the Young Academy of Spain, (JAE) about How Spanish science is contributing to the fight against COVID-19.

The talk by Prof Lechuga is titled “COVIDー 19 diagnosis: advantages and limitations of different techniques

Global Young Academy (GYA) was created in 2010 at the initiative of young scientists and researchers from around the world who met in 2008 and 2009 during the “Annual Meeting of the New Champions”, known as “Summer Davos”. One of the objectives of the GYA is to promote the creation of National Young Academies around the world. JAE was created in march 2019 with the aim of representing and giving visibility to young scientists, preferably from the field of experimental sciences. The profile of the members of this Academy will coincide with the average of 40 years of age and 12 years from the attainment of the title of doctor, since a young scientist is understood as one who has reached maturity and is in the phases initials of his independent research career. Jesús Martínez de la Fuente, Principal Investigator of a CIBER-BBN group is Member of the Governing Board of the Young Academy of Spain.

Event Program

Link to the event

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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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Stem cells and COVID-19 research.

The Malaga Academy of Sciences has published an interesting review by Dr. José Becerra Ratia on Spanish biomedical research in relation to COVID-19 virus and, in particular, with two therapeutic novelties that have stem cells as protagonists, in one case the mesenchymal cells and in the other case the embryonic ones.

Professor Becerra is Professor of Cellular Biology at the University of Malaga and Vice President of the Malaga Academy of Sciences, as well as Researcher in charge of the Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration Laboratory that belongs to BIONAND, IBIMA CIBER-BBN and TerCel (unit 28 of NANBIOSIS U28 Nanoimaging Unit)

Dr Becerra, enfasizes how the development of Biology in recent decades as well as the powerful tools provided by molecular biology and artificial intelligence, will be very useful now to combat Covid-19 Pandemia.

Here you can read the article in Spanish, Science, a well-founded hope against COVID19

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COVID-19 research: preferent access to NANBIOSIS

Due to the current pandemic outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, knowledge about the virus characteristics and the development of its possible diagnostic, treatment and prophylactic devices and systems are high priority in all research institutions worldwide.

NANBIOSIS assigns high priority to the projects related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus offering preferential access. Some of the NANBIOSIS’s services have been suspended or postponed. However the call is open and the proposals will be processed and services required will be provided as soon as possible.

For that purpose, A “COVID-19 Rapid Access” call has been established, valid through the year 2020. Urgent procedure will be applied to review and admission of the proposals. 

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“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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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


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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