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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...

Frédéric Debiève, Professor (MD, PhD) - Arthur Colson, PhD fellow (MD) - Christophe Depoix, Postdoctoral (PhD) - Pierre Sonveaux, FNRS Senior Research Associate (PhD) - Corinne Hubinont, Professor (MD, PhD)

Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc - UCLouvain - FRIA - FNRS
FD and CH are members of the cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc (CUSL). CD is a postdoctoral researcher at UCLouvain. AC is a PhD Fellow of the Belgian Fonds pour la Formation à la Recherche dans l'Industrie et dans l'Agriculture (FRIA). PS is a Senior Research Associate of the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (F.R.S-FNRS). - FNRS

" The novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) is a global public health emergency. In several months, the infection has spread dramatically to the entire world and resulted in a major epidemic. In this context, pregnant women require particular attention in term of emerging infections because of the physiological changes in their immune and cardiopulmonary systems. The first analysis of 38 pregnant women with COVID-19 is quite reassuring since it did not report any maternal deaths, increased complications or vertical transmission. However, specific prospective studies about...

Gilles Darcis, FNRS Post-doctorate Clinical Master Specialist

ULiège, CHU - FNRS
" We aim to compare various diagnostic tools (swabs, saliva, serology, antigen detection) in order to define the best one depending on the clinical presentation and the duration of the disease. "
Funding: Fonds Léon Fredericq FNRS
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Gilles Darcis, FNRS Post-doctorate Clinical Master Specialist

ULiège, CHU - FNRS
" We aim to define the clinical characteristics associated with the production and the level of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) in COVID19 recovered patients. In particular, we will investigate whether the development of a strong and persistent humoral immune response takes place in severely affected, individuals with mild symptoms or asymptomatic individuals. We will also study the study the persistence of NAbs overtime. "
Funding: Fonds Léon Frédéricq FNRS
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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...

Guy Jerusalem, Professor

CHU Liege/ULiège
" La nouvelle pandémie COVID-19 modifie la prise en charge des patients oncologiques. Le premier objectif de notre projet est d'étudier la sécurité de la poursuite des traitements systémiques anti-tumoraux dans le contexte actuel de pandémie. Le deuxième objectif est de comprendre les inquiétudes et les ressentis de nos patients par rapport au risque d'attraper l'infection et leurs conséquences. Le troisième objectif est d'évaluer le taux d'infection et de séroconversion asymptomatique chez nos patients en comparaison à la population globale. Le quatrième objectif est de mieux comprendre les raisons de détresse du personnel soignant en oncologie afin de mieux organiser des mesures de soutien psychologique. "
Funding: Fondation Leon Frederic Fonds propres Oncologie Médicale
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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 Lambotte - Harmony Dussart - Sandrine Deplus - Isabelle Duret - Jessica Frippiat - Marianne Rotsaert - Julien Tiete - Claire Van Pevenage

Hôpital Universitaire des Enfants Reine Fabiola/HUDERF - CHU Bruxelles - ULB
" Children's mental health in Belgium during the Covid19 crisis
Abstract The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on children's emotional wellbeing: a comparative mixed-mode study between a group of children with at least one parent employed by a hospital and two other groups of children whose parents do not work for a hospital (one group whose parents are teleworking and another group whose parents are working in a setting that isn't a hospital setting). This study will be carried out by the psychology teams of the Huderf and the Hôpital Erasme in partnership with the child psychiatry department and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Background: In the Covid-19 pandemic context, concerns regarding physical health have naturally taken precedence over concerns regarding mental health. However, in the past, studies have shown that, in case of natural disasters, there is an increase in depressive symptoms...

Isabelle Lambotte, Psychologist, PhD - Mouna Al Husni, Doctor - Sandrine Deplus, Psychologist, PhD - Simone Marchini, Doctor- Joana Reis, Doctor - Anthony Deleeuw, Doctor - Véronique Delvenne, Professor

ULB Huderf
" Children's mental health in Belgium during the Covid19 crisis. Study of the child psychiatry department of the Queen Fabiola Children's University Hospital (Huderf, ULB). Background: In the covid19 pandemic context, physical health has taken the precedence over mental health while it is documented that, in case of natural disaster, depression symptoms, substance abuse, post-traumatic symptoms and domestic violence increase into the general population (e.g., Bland, O'Leary, Farinaro et al., 1996). The security measures to protect the population against covid19 contamination have changed our everyday life: physical distance or "social distance" modifies social relationships (Yip & Chau, 2020). The effect of these measures on children and adults can still not be estimated. Indeed, the anxious climate, maintained among other things by the media, has also a serious impact on the general population's mental health. In Belgium, a first study has showed that, in the...

Isabelle Migeotte, Associate Professor, FNRS Research Associate/Geneticist - Guillaume Smits, Director ULB genetics - Isabelle Vandernoot, Généticist - Catheline Vilain, Associate Professor/ Geneticist- Jean-Christophe Goffard, Director Internal Medicine

ULB Hôpital Erasme - FNRS
" Genetic modifiers of the clinical response to infection by SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). The project is part of a global effort of the human genetics community to generate, share and analyze data to learn the genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility, severity and outcomes in all patients, as well as identify genetic errors that make some younger patients especially vulnerable to the virus. DNA samples and clinical data for COVID-19 patients are collected for GWAS analysis, whole exome, and/or whole genome sequencing. Such discoveries could help to generate hypotheses for drug repurposing, identify individuals at unusually high or low risk, and contribute to global knowledge of the biology of SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease. "
Funding: -ULB -Fondation Erasme
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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 Kaux, Professor

ULiège and CHU de Liège
" BACKGROUND The SARS-CoV2 or COVID-19 infection is unique in terms of its speed of spread, the importance of structural medical reorganization, the length of resuscitation stays sometimes required, the diversity of the affected population, especially young or fragile subjects, and the impacts on physical and mental health generated by this pandemic and the prolonged confinement of populations. Muscle damage related to immobility, inflammation, corticosteroids, hypoxemia associated with pulmonary and cardiac damage, and metabolic damage (undernutrition), all sometimes linked to the infection, suggests weak or major functional repercussions, already described in SARS patients. Thus, the patients most affected by COVID-19 require acute hospital management and sometimes complex rehabilitation management. Retrospective studies of the functional capacities of patients with SARS of viral origin show the persistence of functional impairment at a distance from the...

Jean-marie Colet, Pr. - Anne-Emilie Declèves, Pr. - Frédéric Debelle, Dr

" We set up a pilot study including positive COVID-19 patients hospitalized in intensive care with acute renal disorders. The primary intention here is to assess the serum and urine metabonomic profiles of patients with renal disorders following SARS COV-2 infection at the time of their hospitalization in order to identify metabolic indicators of the acute renal injury. "
Funding: internal funding and CUR/FNRS project submitted
Publication References:
1. Lindon JC, Nicholson JK, Holmes E, Antti H, Bollard ME, Keun H, Beckonert O, Ebbels TM, Reily MD, Robertson D, Stevens GJ, Luke P, Breau AP, Cantor GH, Bible RH, Niederhauser U, Senn H, Schlotterbeck G, Sidelmann UG, Laursen SM, Tymiak A, Car BD, Lehman-McKeeman L, Colet JM, Loukaci A, Thomas C. Contemporary issues in toxicology the role of metabonomics in toxicology and its evaluation by the COMET project. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 187(3):137-46 (2003)
2. Colet Jean-Marie, ""Metabonomics in the Preclinical and...

Joëlle Nortier, Dr

ULB, Faculty of Medicine, and Erasme Hospital
Suivi longitudinal de biomarqueurs sériques et urinaires de l'atteinte rénale aiguë associée au COVID-19 : impacts diagnostique et pronostique. " L'objectif principal de cette étude est de caractériser l'atteinte rénale aiguë par le virus SARS-COV2 chez des patients hospitalisés présentant une maladie COVID-19 à l'aide de biomarqueurs sériques et urinaires précoces et spécifiques à certains segments du néphron. L'objectif secondaire est d'établir une corrélation entre l'évolution de ces marqueurs observée durant la phase aiguë de l'insuffisance rénale et le passage éventuel à un stade chronique. "
Funding: Crédit Urgent de Recherche (CUR) sollicité auprès du FNRS
Publication References: BUNEL V, SOUARD F, ANTOINE M-H, STEVIGNY C, NORTIER JL. Nephrotoxicity of Natural Products: Aristolochic Acid and Fungal Toxins. In McQueen C.A., Comprehensive Toxicology, Third Edition. Vol 14, Oxford Elsevier Ltd (2018), pp 340-379. BUNEL V, TOURNAY Y...

Julien Guiot, MD PhD

ULiège, CHU
" We are facing a COVID-19 infection pandemic. This pathogenic virus is a source of pulmonary complications greatly aggravating the prognosis of our patients. Today, both the pathophysiological mechanisms involved and the predictive markers of the severity of the disease remain unclear. It therefore seems urgent to be able to identify prognostic and diagnostic markers for our patients on the one hand. In this context, several paths that can quickly be explored appear to us to be critical. This is why we are planning the evaluation of the neutrophilic activation pathway by studying the Exosomes and circulating nucleosomes containing neutrophilic activation markers. This tool would make it possible to identify people at risk of clinical deterioration but also to approach the pathophysiological mechanisms involved. "
Funding: Fonds Léon Fredericq
Publication References: 1Danthi P. Viruses and the Diversity of Cell death Annu. Rev. Virol. (2016) 3:533–53 2 Wang Y et al...

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Brussels & Wallonia against COVID19