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Research Center

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 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...

Frederic BOSCHINI, R&D Powder Manager GREEnMat

ULiège - GREEnMat laboratory
" Development of a new and fast method for the production of magnetic nanobeads for virus RNA extraction for performing PCR test. We produced more the 500,000 doses for federal testing center and our product has been widly used in Belgium and out of our borders. We aslo develop a method for producing high quantities of lysis buffer, guanidine thiocyanate (hundred liters/week), to release RNA from the virus and allow extraction. "
Contact: Dr BOSCHINI Frédéric Laboratoire GREEnMat University of Liège This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 0032-4-366-35-32

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...

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

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...

Ruddy Wattiez, Professor - Lionel Tafforeau, Professor - Elise Hennebert, Doctor - Anne-Emilie Declèves, Professor - Rob Onderwater, Doctor - François Dufrasne PhD, Research Associate

UMONS /Materia Nova and UCLouvain
" The Covid-19 diagnostic platform of the University of mons , Famph accredited, is an enormous contribution to the much-needed effort against Covid-19. The Covid-19 RT-qPCR test has been developed by UNamur and transposed to UMONS with the help of our UMONS Innovation Center: MATERIA NOVA. The diagnostic platform is currently able to process more than 400 tests per day for the benefit of the region's hospitals, their hospitalised patients and their staff. This is a major contribution to increasing national screening capacity. The platform's teams, led by our Vice-Rector Ruddy Wattiez, are made up of some forty volunteer researchers and logisticians from the laboratories of the Institutes of Health and Biosciences. They take turns seven days a week to carry out this crucial operation, which was set up in record time. "
Publication References: ...

Ruddy Wattiez, Professor - Rob Onderwater, Doctor - Richard Vincent, Doctor

UMONS /Materia Nova/ CHU Ambroise Paré/ entreprise Biotech
" Development of a new serological test for the detection of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. A research project for the PoC serological diagnosis for SARC-CoV2 antibodies that will be done in collaboration with the Walloon company D-tek. This company is well known, since 25 years, for the development and commercialisation of serologic diagnostic tests. The immuno-dot elisa test, in their proprietary BlueDiver instrument, could allow for rapid detection of IgM and IgG antibodies from patients previously infected with the virus."
Contact: Pr. Ruddy Wattiez, Vice-rector of research and innovation of the university of Mons This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Serge Goldman, Scientific Director

" The Center of Microscopy and Molecular Imaging (CMMI) is currently involved in establishing an accurate SARS-CoV-2 virus distribution topography in the organs and various cells of patients who died in COVID-19 units by providing immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy services (study director Pr. Isabelle Salmon). We have also developed and are currently offering preclinical multimodal quantitative imaging - of lung inflammation - of bacterial population (pathogen or no pathogen) - and of viral infection by isotopic imaging. All these models enable the understanding of pulmonary pathological features caused by SARS-viruses such as CoVID-19. From molecular to humanized animal models, the CMMI provides customized imaging solutions to research projects on Coronavirus The CMMI is also a proud partner of the ULB diagnostic platform set-up in Gosselies to face the epidemic of SARS-CoV2. "
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Comment: The CMMI was co-founded by ULB et UMons and is supported...

Stéphanie Roosa, Program Leader Biotechnology - Thomas Godfroid, Scientific Leader Plasma Technology - Marie-Eve Druart, Scientific Leader Wet Coatings

Materia Nova
" Based on its expertise on surface treatments and biotechnology, Materia Nova is actively working on the development of decontamination process or anti-viral surface treatments. On the one one hand, plasma technology can be used to decontaminate surfaces or fabric, like sanitary masks. Beyond masks, this technique can be used for the sterilization of medical parts (respirator tubing, surgical instruments...) even sensitive to temperature. The technology can be declined in the form of a small system that could also be useful in structures other than hospitals such as nursing homes, shops... On the other hand, the knowledge of Materia Nova in wet and dry functional coatings dedicated to various properties and applications (transport, health, energy,…) helps to investigate the anti-viral surface treatment. Due to this large panel of technologies (plasma deposition, sol-gel, organic coating or electrodeposition), the coatings or the combination of coatings can be applied on...

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Brussels & Wallonia against COVID19