Votre navigateur ne supporte pas le javascript Wallonia & Brussels against COVID-19 - Diagnostic tests for cellular and tissue applications

Diagnostic tests for cellular and tissue applications

Ahmad Awada, Chef de Service, Medical Oncology - Karen Willard-Gallo, Laboratory Head, Molecular Immunology - Aspasia Georgala, Infectious Disease Physician - Maher Khalife, Chef de Service, Anesthesiology- Alain Roman, Chef de Service, Intensive Care

ULB, Bordet Institute and CHU Saint-Pierre
" The limited capacity of intensive care unit (ICU) beds and the high mortality of patients requiring ICU care after COVID-19 infection are major problems that urgently require solutions. Early evidence suggests that an individual patient's immune responses to this virus are a key factor in their disease pathogenesis. This response can be further compounded by underlying factors, which for patients at Bordet can be exacerbated by their cancer status. A recent study shows that some cancer patients (particularly lung, blood or metastatic cancer patients) are three times more likely to die from COVID-19 infection. Thus, there is an important need to understand and identify immune biomarker(s) that measure functionality of innate and/or adaptive immunity in the blood with rapid turnaround to provide much needed information for clinical decision making. The anticipated results of this collaborative research project include the identification of...

Antoine FROIDURE, Professor - Jean-Philippe DEFOUR, Professor - Anabelle DECOTTIGNIES, FNRS Senior Research Associate

UCLouvain, Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc - FNRS
" "Telomeres are non-coding DNA sequences located at the end of chromosomes. In highly dividing cells, like embryonic stem cells and germ cells, telomeres are maintained by the telomerase complex. In the absence of telomerase activity in normal somatic cells, telomeres shorten after each cell division, ultimately leading to cell senescence or apoptosis. Telomeres are thus considered as ""molecular biological clocks"", closely related to ageing. Short telomeres syndromes (STS) have been identified, that are linked to genetic mutations affecting compounds of the telomerase complex, or proteins with crucial roles in telomere protection, and resulting in various conditions including lung fibrosis and aplastic anaemia (1). Bone marrow failure in STS results from the premature exhaustion of hematopoietic stem cells and, overall, tissues from STS patients suffer from premature senescence that likely drives the organ failures...

Bertrand Moinet, CEO - Nathalie Gillard, Dr - Eric Fichant, Dr - Patrice Filée, Dr - Jean-Noel Degeye, Ir

CER Groupe
" "As Approved Research Centre in life sciences, the CER Groupe was requested several times to participate in the action plan against Coronavirus. Among the actions taken, we can point out : • The setting up of an operational structure, qualified to carry out PCR covid-19 tests to assist local hospitals in the lockdown ending and tracing phase ; • Involvement in a Belgian consortium to develop an ELISA quantitative serological test to supplement the PCR analytical capacity and secure the lockdown ending phase ; • implementation of antibody bioproduction for therapeutic/diagnostic use. Finally, let us point out that all of these actions were possible thanks to the involvement and synergy of the CERg various operating units. - development of an ELISA quantitative serological test : design, production and characterization of antigens; design/validation of the ELISA test; production of ELISA kits - production of antibodies in various species (lamas, hens, rabbits, pigs, goats...

Birgit Quinting, PhD, teacher HELMo - Marine Joris, PhD, Research Fellow, CRIG - Florence Mahy, PhD, teacher HELMo- Frédéric Oprenyeszk, PhD, Research fellow, CRIG - Olivier Jacquemin, MTL student, Master thesis - Sylvie Bodart, Lab technician , HELMo

CRIG, research center of HELMo (Haute école libre mosane)
" As the COVID-19 pandemic still progresses every day, time is running out to find solutions. It is therefore in everyone's interest that the active forces work together. It is in this spirit that HELMo and its Centre of Research CRIG made their experts available. A team of teachers from the Medical Laboratory Technologist curriculum reinforced by researchers of the CRIG contributes to enhance the capacity of direct testing, by assessing a new q-PCR diagnostic method developed by Dr. N. Gillet’s team (UNamur). UNamur provided the diagnosis protocol to HELMo consisting in two main steps: first, the inactivation and extraction of genetic material from the sample (smears taken from the nose and throat), and second, the identification of SARS-Cov-2 virus-specific gene by qPCR. However, the "Trizol" reagent - used for the extraction of genetic material - could quickly become a limiting reagent, as it is used by all diagnostic...

Carine Truyens, Professor - Sarra Ait Dejbbara, Assistant PhD student - Pascale Deblandre, Technician - Alain Wathelet-Depauw, Technician

" Contribution to the realization of Covid-19 diagnosis by PCR We are involved in the diagnosis of Covid-19 at ULB (Erasmus Campus) by coordinating and contributing to two steps of the flow required to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in swaps. "
Publication References: /
Contact: Carine Truyens Lab of Parasitology - Faculty of Medicine - ULB Erasmus Campus ctruyens#ulb.ac.be

Emmanuel Di Valentin, Doctor

ULiège, GIGA
" There is no effective antiviral treatment for SARS-Cov-2 which is responsible for the current pandemic. Research efforts are therefore focused on the rapid development of vaccines and the evaluation of antiviral drugs. Testing the effectiveness of these on virus cultures is laborious and requires a BSL3 environment. In order to be able to evaluate (quickly and in safe conditions) the effectiveness of the various drugs acting against this virus, cells expressing Sars-Cov2 viral enzymes will be generated. In these cells, enzymatic activity would be easily quantifiable using a reporter system. In a first phase of our project, different FDA-approuved drugs will be tested, hoping to identify some that will be effective against viral enzymes. "
Contact: Dr. Emmanuel Di Valentin Platform manager University of LIEGE (ULiege) Giga Viral Vectors Platform Tour GIGA B34 (+4) CHU Avenue Hypocrate 1 B-4000 LIEGE (Sart Tilman) Tel. +32 (0) 4 366 45...

Francois Mullier, Prof - Alain Dive, Prof - Michael Hardy, Dr - Sarah Lessire, Prof - Isabelle Michaux, Prof - Jonathan Douxfils, Prof

UCLouvain, CHU UCLouvain/UNamur
" Evaluation of the thrombotic risk associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and its management in the intensive care unit: a clinical and biological longitudinal study. Background Since the beginning of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in December 2019, data accumulate regarding the high thrombotic risk associated with this infection, which could explain substantial part of the observed morbidity and mortality (1). Accordingly, a retrospective study suggested that prophylactic anticoagulation could reduce mortality in severe COVID-19 patients with sepsis-induced coagulopathy (2). Furthermore, a European cohort reported a 27% incidence of venous thrombo-embolisms (VTEs) despite systematic prophylactic anticoagulation, raising the question whether deeper anticoagulant regimen would be beneficial in severe COVID-19 (3). Some authors also suggested that fibrinolysis alterations could be a significant determinant of SARS-CoV-2 infection's prognosis, as it is in...

Françoise Mascart, Professor - Véronique Del Marmol, Professor - Véronique Corbière, Doctor

Hôpital Erasme and ULB - Faculty of medicine
" A translational prospective research project was initiated to characterize longitudinally the immune responses of patients with COVID-19, to identify the mechanisms underlying progression to severe disease. Blood samples are collected at three different time points from two groups of patients, those with a flu-like disease, and those with respiratory symptoms (mild to severe). They are stored in a biobank after appropriate treatment to be further available for different research projects. The first one will focus on the characterization of the phenotype of innate cells (dendritic cells, monocytes, NK cells) and T lymphocyte subpopulations, and on the analysis of the concentrations of IFN-a and a panel of other cytokines, to investigate the importance of the kinetic of pDC mobilization and type I IFN production before the appearance of the cytokine storm. "
Funding: - ULB - COVID-19 special call - FNRS - crédit urgent de recherche...

Gilles Bruylants, Professor - Ivan Jabin, Professor - Vincent Raussens, Professor

" This project aims at developing soluble anti-SARS-CoV-2 virus immunoglobins (IgM and IgG) detection systems based on calixarene coated silver nanoparticles functionalized with viral antigens. These particles could advantageously replace gold nanoparticles (10x more efficient in light extinction) in Lateral Flow ImmunoAssays and Immunoturbidimetry tests. "
Funding: ULB Special COVID-19 Call
Publication References: "Controlled Functionalisation of Gold Nanoparticles with Mixtures of Calix[4]arenes revealed by Infra-red Spectroscopy". Valkenier, H.; Malytskyi, V.; Blond, P.; Retout, M.; Mattiuzzi, A.; Goole, J.; Raussens, V.; Jabin, I.; Bruylants, G., Langmuir 2017, 33, 8253-8259. "Extremely robust and post-functionalizable gold nanoparticles coated with calix[4]arenes via metal–carbon bonds". Troian-Gautier, L.; Valkenier, H.; Mattiuzzi, A.; Jabin, I.; Van den Brande, N.; Van Mele, B.; Hubert, J.; Reniers, F.; Bruylants, G.; Lagrost, C.; Leroux, Y., Chem. Commun. 2016, 52...

Gilles Parzibut, Doctor

ULiège, CHU
" La recherche de biomarqueurs fiables, sensibles et peu invasifs est un enjeu de premier ordre pour la médecine moderne. En effet, ces biomarqueurs ont le potentiel de transformer la prise en charge médicale en améliorant le dépistage et le diagnostic, mais aussi en permettant de mieux appréhender la physiopathologie d'une pathologie ou sa réponse à un traitement donné. Fort de nos travaux précédents, nous proposons de réaliser une étude prospective sur une population adulte souffrant d'un SDRA modéré à sévère post SARS-COV2 afin de caractériser une signature exosomique plasmatique propre à cette population. "
Funding: FLF FIRS CHU de Liège
Publication References: hankar-Hari, M., Fan, E. & Ferguson, N. D. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) phenotyping. Intensive Care Med. (2018). 45;(4): 516-519. Thompson BT, Chambers RC, Liu KD. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2017;377(6):562–72. Johnstone RM, Adam M, Hammond JR, Orr L, Turbide C. Vesicle...

Haruko Takeda, Senior Scientist

Development of rapid and reliable alternative diagnostics for wide-scale COVID-19 testing. " Wide-scale implementation of rapid, reliable, low-cost diagnostic tests would help epidemic containment and mitigation strategies. The current gold standard in COVID-19 diagnostics employs quantitative reverse transcription (qRT) PCR which through cyclic reactions at different temperatures detects segments of the SARS-CoV-2 genome from RNA extracts from nasopharyngeal swabs. Though reliable, this procedure requires special sampling devices, purification of RNA, qualified personnel, sophisticated equipment, and a six hour turnaround time to result. By leveraging on university expert capacities such as molecular biology and protein science, our team has performed a series of controlled experiments to assess the specificity and sensitivity of loop- mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP)- and recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA)-based tests in comparison with the qRT-PCR procedure...

Isabelle Demeestere, FNRS Research Associate

" - I use my expertise in clinical research to set up and coordinate the reception/labeling and encoding station at the COVID diagnostic platform at ULB - As new president of the BSRM, I coordinate the writing and diffusion o recommendations for the reproductive centers in Belgium regarding COVID-19 pandemic "
Contact: https://actus.ulb.be/fr/actus/recherche/tests-de-diagnostic-covid-19-plus-de-250-chercheurs-mobilises BSRM website (https://bsrm.be)
Comment: My role as president of the BSRM to manage the COVID-19 crisis and my participation as coordinator at the COVID diagnostic platform (ULB) are completely independent.

Isabelle Salmon, Professor

ULB, Department of Pathology, Erasme hospital and DIAPath-CMMI - Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium
" A first objective of this project is to establish an accurate topography of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the organs and various cells of patients who died in COVID-19 units, in order to contribute to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of COVID-19. A second objective is to provide a routine diagnostic test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in routine samples in pathological anatomy. "
Funding: Fonds Y Boël (Brussels, Belgium), Fonds Erasme pour la Recherche Médicale (Brussels, Belgium), and "Appel à projet Spécial COVID-19 - ULB" (Brussels, Belgium). The CMMI is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the Walloon Region of Belgium (Wallonia-biomed; grant no. 411132-957270; project "CMMI-ULB").
Contact: Prof. I. Salmon, Department of Pathology, Erasme Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Route de Lennik 808, 1070 Brussels, Belgium.

Jean-François Focant, Professor

" I am leading the Organic and Biological Analytical Chemistry laboratory. This research group is specialized in developing integrated solution for biological samples characterization, especially non-targeted screening. We also develop method for target studies in different sample types. "
Publication References: F. Schleich, D. Zanella, P.-H. Stefanuto, K. Bessonov, A. Smolinska, J.W. Dallinga, M. Henket, V. Paulus, F. Guissard, S. Graff, C. Moermans, E.F.M. Wouters, K. Van Steen, F.-J. van Schooten, J.-F. Focant, R. Louis, Exhaled Volatile Organic Compounds Are Able to Discriminate between Neutrophilic and Eosinophilic Asthma. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2019, 200, 444-453. (10.1164/rccm.201811-2210OC) R. Pesesse, P.-H. Stefanuto, F. Schleich, R. Louis, J.-F. Focant, Multimodal Chemometric Approach for the Analysis of Human Exhaled Breath in Lung Cancer Patients by TD-GC×GC-TOFMS. J. Chromatogr. B 2019, 1114, 146-153. (10.1016/j.jchromb.2019.01.029) D. Zanella, P.-H...

Jean-Luc Gala, Professor

" As a technological platform of the IREC institute, CTMA offers technological support and expertise to IREC-researchers from multiple IREC Research Labs. CTMA provides to the IREC researchers access and support to use numerous molecular technologies including : quantitative PCR, LAMP (Isothermal Loop Mediated Amplification), Lateral Flow Assay developement, Sanger Sequencing, Pyrosequencing and Next-Generation-Sequencing (Illumina-Miseq), microarrays facilities (Affymetrix, Agilent, custom glass slide arrays…). The multidisciplinary team from CTMA provides a support on different aspect of the research projects from the experimental design until the data analysis and the validation of new devices. "
Contact: Professor Jean Luc Gala This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Brussels & Wallonia against COVID19