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Research Center

A. Marchant - S. Goriely - N. Dauby - S. De Wit - O. Vandenbergh - C. Montesino - V. Mascart - V. Del Marmol - A. Le Moine - F. Andris - C. Gueydan - A. Botteaux - A. Matagne

ULB, CHU Saint-Pierre, Hôpital Erasme, ULiège - FNRS

" The project investigates the immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans. Cohorts of patients and contacts are recruited and followed-up during several months following infection. Using systems serology and systems biology approaches, the quality and dynamics of antibody and cellular responses are analysed to identify correlates of protection against severe disease and to determine the duration of natural immunity to the virus. The project should provide insight in the host response to SARS-CoV-2 and should help define deconfinement strategies and develop prophylactic and therapeutic interventions against COVID-19. "
Funding: COVID 19 - ULB
Contact: Arnaud Marchant: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Stanislas Goriely: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anne Van den Broeke, Doctor

Institut Jules Bordet
" Contribution to the application and implementation of a novel Covid-19 diagnostic testing method developed at the GIGA/FARAH academic research institutes. Starting with a handful academic scientists from different disciplines, we established a Covid diagnostic lab with the goal of increasing the testing capacity in Belgium during the heaviest period of the crisis. The lab was entirely and exclusively build by training academic volunteers dedicating their time and energy to a joint effort to "beat the virus". Today the lab has a testing capacity of > 3000 samples/day, 7days/7. The diagnostic lab contributed - and still contributes - to the federal Testing Task Force as one of the five partners involved in screening nursing homes and more recently "centres de triage". We believe extensive testing may be critical to assist and better understand the nascent "deconfinement". Making available our expertise in virus-associated diseases accumulated over years of...

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...

Daniel Desmecht, Professor - Mutien Garigliany, Professor

FARAH - ULiège 
" We are describing the evolution of the respiratory function after infection using whole-body plethysmography in a hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. Although the tropism of the virus for the upper respiratory tract is well documented, little is known about the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the impairment of the respiratory function and the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in some patients. There is a critical need for the development of noninvasive evaluation tools of the respiratory function over the disease course in order to develop therapeutic strategies aiming at specifically improving this function. Plethysmography is a noninvasive method allowing the quantitative evaluation of the lung volume and function. The selected plethysmographic parameters will allow a noninvasive monitoring of the lung function and lesions in the hamster model, permitting the screening of therapeutic molecules aiming at alleviating the...

Daniel Desmecht, Professor - Mutien Garigliany, Professor

FARAH - ULiège 
" We recently showed that domestic cats can be spontaneously infected by SARS-CoV-2 and develop transient, yet severe, pneumonia. Similar reports in other countries confirmed the susceptibility of cats, ferrets, lions and tigers to the infection. Dogs can get infected but, apparenlty, subclinically. Beside the importance of these findings for veterinarians and animal health, a series of domestic or wild animal species might constitute a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 and dramatically complicate the "uncontainment" process. Domestic cats, minks, ferrets, hamsters, dogs, tigers and lions were all shown to be naturally or (for some species) experimentally susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, cats, minks, ferrets and hamsters were shown to be able to efficiently transmit the virus to in-contact animals. Little is known about the actual host range of the virus. It is critically needed to determine which domestic, peri-domestic (especially rodents) and wild animals can...

François Fuks, Full Professor

Laboratory of Cancer Epigenetics, ULB, Faculty of Medicine - Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium
" In recent years epigenetics has become an essential component of biological research, playing key roles in many physiopathological conditions. Recent work in viral epigenetics highlighted these modifications as an essential mechanism in modulating many viruses life cycles. To date, whether this holds true also for SARS-CoV-2 remains unknown, let alone the potential use of epigenetics inhibitors as novel antiviral therapy against SARS-CoV-2. • To address these unanswered questions and to respond to the current international urge of new therapeutic approaches against COVID-19, our study, which would uncover a link between epigenetics and SARS-CoV-2, aim to provide innovative advances for SARS-CoV-2 biology and therapy: • Overall, we will generate a comprehensive dataset aiming at expanding further our understanding of the biological functions of epigenetic modifications in the SARS-CoV-2...

François JOURET, Professeur - Pierre Delanaye, Professeur - Jean-Marie Krzesinski, Professeur Ordinaire

ULiège - FNRS
" L'atteinte rénale semble fréquente et précoce dans la COVID-19. Sa physiopathologie est inconnue. Le but de cette étude est de caractériser cette néphropathie nouvelle causée par le SRAS-Cov-2. Nous réalisons une biopsie rénale post mortem chez tout patient décédé dans le cadre d'une infection COVID-19 en salle d'hospitalisation ou aux soins intensifs (SI). L'étude se focalise sur la corrélation anatomo-clinique. L'étude histologique inclut (i) une description conventionnelle des compartiments glomérulaire, tubulaire et interstitiel ; (ii) une détection immuno-histochimique des antigènes viraux du SRAS-Cov-2 et leur distribution préférentielle dans chaque segment du néphron ; (iii) une caractérisation de l'infiltrat inflammatoire éventuel ; et (iv) une microscopie électronique. "
Funding: Fondation Léon Frédéricq ULiège (21.600 euros) FNRS (en attente) Société Francophone de Néphrologie (en attente)
Contact: Pr dr François JOURET Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de...

Frédéric Dierick, Dr - Nicolas Velings, Dr

Haute École Louvain en Hainaut (HELHa) - CeREF
" The aim of the Interreg FWVl project called "NOMADe" (https://nomadeproject.eu) is to develop an ecosystem for e-learning and research & developement in the field of neuro-musculo-skeletal disorders (NMSD). By essence, NOMADe has a strong interest in online and sensor-based developments of physiotherapy. It is the reason why we have recently written an opinion paper about the relevance of telerehabilitation for the care of NMSD. This topic has become particularly important because of covid-19 isolation period. Physiotherapists have indeed been forced to stop usual consultations and the need for alternatives has become obvious. Our opinion paper is based on a review of the literature and promotes the use of telerehabilitation by identifying the situations in which it is efficient. It has been cited in the opinion paper of the "Conseil Fédéral de la Kinésithérapie" / "Federale Raad voor de Kinesitherapie" regarding a phased approach to...

Jean-Paul Coutelier, FNRS Research Director, Professor

UCLouvain - FNRS
" In collaboration with the University of Rwanda, pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines will be measured in the plasma of COVID-19 patients and their level will be correlated with the severity of the disease. "
Funding: ARES-CCD
Publication References: Ndoricyimpaye EL, Tuyishimire J, Vanwambeke S, Mutesa L, Nyandwi E, Rujeni N, Coutelier J-P. L'épidémie de SARS-CoV-2 en Afrique sub-Saharienne, questions, craintes et espoirs. Louvain Médical, submitted.
Contact: Prof. J.-P. Coutelier de Duve Institute Universite Catholique de Louvain SSS/DDUV - ICP Av. Hippocrate 75, bte B1.74.05 1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Belgique tel 32 2 764 7437 fax 32 2 764 7430 e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Laurence Delacroix, Dr. - Marielle Lebrun, Dr. - Catherine Sadzot, Pr.

ULiège, GIGA-Research
" Development of specific antigens to allow the detection of circulating antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Our aim is to contribute to the development of serological tests that could help identifying the people previously infected by SARS-CoV-2 and detect the presence of neutralizing antibodies, which would predict an individual protection against COVID-19. With the help of local renowned companies, we are currently testing various antigens and optimizing their production. "
Contact: Dr. Laurence Delacroix (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Neurodevelopmental Biology, GIGA-Neurosciences and GIGA-Stem Cells, 15 avenue Hippocrate, CHU-B36, B-4000 Liège). Dr. Marielle Lebrun (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Pr. Catherine Sadzot (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), laboratory of Immunology and Virology, GIGA-I3, 11 Avenue de l'hôpital, 4000 Liège.

Mutien Garigliany, Professor - Daniel Desmecht, Professor

" There is a critical need for therapeutic solutions against SARS-CoV-2. Before implementing innovative treatments in human medicine, a first screening of the antiviral or immunomodulatory activity should be performed by in vitro and in vivo methods. To this aim, we developed in vitro (cell culture) and in vivo (hamsters and mice) models of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We developed an in vitro (cell culture) and in vivo (hamsters and mice) to screen antiviral or immunomodulatory molecules, in partnership with colleagues from the ULiège hospital and the GIGA research center. We also validate the inactivation protocols to facilitate the diagnostic workflow, in partnership with the Federal task force. "
Funding: Currently no funding. We applied to the "Crédits urgents de recherche" call.
Contact: Mutien Garigliany, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECVP Professor Department of Pathology Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Centre for Fundamental and Applied Research for Animals & Health (FARAH) Liège...

Mutien Garigliany, Professor - Daniel Desmecht, Professor

FARAH - ULiège 
" As of today, one of the most promising therapeutic solutions against COVID-19 is the use of convalescent plasma. A subset of the antibodies present in this plasma are able to bind the surface proteins of the virus, chiefly the Spike (attachment) protein, and to neutralize the ability of viral particles to infect permissive cells. Upon request of the Red Cross and ULiège CHU hospital, we developed seroneutralization assays to determine the titers in neutralizing antibodies of convalescent plasma. In collaboration with KU Leuven (Rega) and ITM Antwerp, we just completed an interlaboratory ring test. We screen convalescent plasmas on a routine basis for the Croix Rouge and Rode Kruis. Only plasmas with a titer in neutralizing antibodies above the cut-off value will be used therapeutically. The scarcity of the scientific literature on the subject (only a few studies on the therapeutic use of convalescent plasmas are currently available) make it difficult to fix a cut-off...

Philippe PEIGNEUX, Professor - Peter SIMOR, Postdoc IF-ULB - Rebeca SIFUENTES, Aspirant FNRS - Ariadna ALBAJARA SAENZ, postdoctoral researcher

ULB, UR2NF - Neuropsychology and Functional Neuroimaging Research Unit affiliated at CRCN - Center for Research in Cognition and Neurosciences and UNI - ULB Neurosciences Institute - FNRS - Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium
" The aim of the study is to examine day-to-day associations between subjective sleep quality and daytime functioning during the large-scale confinement measures taken in Belgium given the current Covid-19 pandemic in Europe. In particular, we are interested in assessing the interplay between altered patterns of sleep timing, duration and quality, and daytime behaviour, cognition, and affect for 2 weeks during the confinement period. Longitudinal data are obtained in Belgium, Hungary and Spain "
Funding: internal resources
Publication References: ongoing project
Contact: Project : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Peter Simor: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Philippe Peigneux : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pierre CLOSE, FNRS Research Associate - Francesca RAPINO, Doctor

GIGA-Institute, ULiège - FNRS
" In this project, we study the epitranscriptomic regulation of the SARS-CoV-2. Based on analyses of the viral genome, we investigate the cellular machineries required for the viral replicative cycle. Our goal is to identify possible viral vulnerabilities that can be exploited for the development of innovative anti-viral therapeutic strategies. We investigate possible new therapeutic opportunities based on the analyses of the viral genomic organization and evolution. We speculate that specific cellular machineries are needed to support the viral replicative cycle. Our goal is uncover new antiviral therapeutic strategies based on the viral epitranscriptomic regulation, mRNA translation and protein expression. "
Publication References: Rapino F, Delaunay S, Rambow F, Zhou Z, Tharun L, De Tullio P, Sin O, Shostak, Schmitz S, Piepers J, Ghesquière B, Karim L, Charloteaux B, Jamart D, Florin A, Lambert C, Rorive A, Jerusalem G...

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Tél : +32 2 504 92 11


Brussels & Wallonia against COVID19