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Five experts explain the results of the CSIC Global Health Platform after a year of research on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus

Margarita del Val, Pilar Marco, Mario Mellado, Diego Ramiro and Iñaki Comas will disseminate, in a webinar through YouTube, the works on the disease, diagnosis and social impact
– The platform investigates the new coronavirus in six areas: prevention, disease, containment and diagnosis, treatment and vaccines, social impact and communication

Five experts from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) will explain in a webinar broadcast on YouTube, on Wednesday, May 5 at 6:00 p.m., the results of a year of research at the CSIC on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus carried out by the Global Health Platform. In the session, titled El CSIC y la covid-19. A year later, five coordinators of the platform will participate: the virologist and immunologist Margarita del Val, from the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center (CBMSO-CSIC-UAM), who will moderate the debate; the nanobiotechnologist Pilar Marco, who leads the group Nb4D of CIBER-BBN/IQAC-CSIC and Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS unit 2Custom Antibody Service (CAbS); the demographer Diego Ramiro, from the Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography (IEGD-CSIC), the immunologist Mario Mellado, director of the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC), and the biologist Iñaki Comas, from the Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia (IBV -CSIC). Interested parties may ask questions via email webinar@csic.es or live through the chat on the CSIC Comunicación YouTube channel.
The CSIC Global Health Platform, launched in March 2020, coordinates more than 100 projects to unravel the new coronavirus and seek medium and long-term solutions. The platform has mobilized and coordinates more than 300 research groups from more than 90 CSIC centers, out of a total of 120, in six work topics, which try to cover all aspects of the pandemic with an interdisciplinary approach: prevention, prevention, disease, containment and diagnosis, treatment and vaccines, social impact, and communication.
The platform has coordinated 100 research projects and actions, ranging from the development of antivirals and anti-inflammatory treatments, the monitoring of transmission, the study of the virus genome and the impact of mutations, the genetics of patients, their immune response to infection and vaccination, up to the launch of systems for diagnosis and containment of the virus.
The platform has also included studies carried out on the social perception of the measures, especially on the impact on nursing homes.

The Global Health platform has become a stable structure for scientific cooperation, as well as for the generation of patented technologies. Its consolidation, reinforcing its structure and coordination mechanisms, in particular the link with the clinical sector, prepares the body to face new challenges and opportunities, and for the development of initiatives with companies in Spain, necessary to configure a response to this and future pandemics.

The speakers
Margarita del Val (CBM-CSIC-UAM) is a virologist and immunologist. She coordinates the CSIC Global Health Platform, where she directs a project to characterize the immune response to infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and to vaccination.
Pilar Marco (IQAC-CSIC) is a nanobiotechnologist. She runs a project (POC4COV) to develop rapid detection tests for the coronavirus. The objective is to obtain low-cost tests to detect biomarkers of the virus using electrochemical technology and nanostructures.
Mario Mellado (CNB-CSIC) is an immunologist and directs the CSIC’s National Center for Biotechnology, which has become the agency’s center on research into treatments for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. At the CNB-CSIC, two vaccine prototypes for covid-19 and treatments with monoclonal antibodies are being developed, and drugs with possible efficacy to treat the new coronavirus are being screened.
Diego Ramiro (IEGD-CSIC) is a demographer and directs three projects to assess the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on residences for the elderly.
Iñaki Comas (IBV-CSIC) is a biologist and an expert in genomics. He co-leads a genomic epidemiology project on the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in Spain. His team has observed that there were multiple introductions of SARS-CoV-2 in Spain, but that only a few caused a large number of infections.

Source of information: CSIC

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NANBIOSIS Unit 2 obtains the Biosafety Level 2 Accreditation

The laboratory of NANBIOSIS Unit 2 from IQAC-CSIC and CIBER-BBN has obtained the biosafety level 2 accreditation, which allows the laboratory to work with biological agents classified in the risk group 2.

Biological containment level 2 (NBS2) laboratories are generally required to work with any derivative of human blood or other primates, body fluids (especially when they are visibly contaminated with blood), cell lines, or tissues in which has uncertainty about the presence of an infectious agent.

Also, the group participates in the COVID project “Point-of-care tests for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 (POC4CoV)”, funded by the CSIC. This project involves the handling of swabs and serum samples from both positive and negative SARS-CoV-2 patients. Lluïsa Vilaplana, member of research group Nb4D of CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC, led by Dra. M. Pilar Marco, wich Coordinates NANBIOSIS U2, has coordinated the process to obtain the accreditation.

The laboratory has an antechamber or clean locker room, a card-controlled entry system and a space for the storage of materials and reagents. It has also an independent air conditioning system, a specific air renewal system and a biosafety cabin type 2A, with HEPA filter. In addition, it is equipped with a suitable lighting system, an emergency lighting system and a large observation peephole on the door.

In addition to this specific equipment, the laboratory is equipped with an inverted microscope, centrifuge, thermostatic bath, stirrers, incubators, refrigerator and autoclave for sterilization and waste management.

The Nanobiotechnology for Diagnosis (Nb4D) research group , focus the research on the development of biomarkers for the diagnosis of infectious diseases. Nowadays, the group participates in five research projects related to this topic. These projects involve working with clinical samples for the detection of the pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Gram – type bacteria) and Staphylococcus aureus (Gram + type bacteria), both classified in risk group 2.

Source of information: IQAC-CSIC Communication

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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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