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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...

Henri-François Renard, Professor - Pierre Morsomme, Professor

UNamur and UCLouvain
" The project will aim at deciphering the molecular mechanisms of coronavirus endocytosis. Although Covid-19 and SARS are known to bind to ACE2 receptor at the surface of various epithelial cells, little is known about the molecular details of the endocytic mechanism of these viruses. One of our hypotheses is that the Spike protein of beta-coronaviruses are able to interact with glycosylated molecules at cell surface (lipids, proteins), induce a clustering mechanism and deformation of cell membrane for endocytosis. This mechanism could be similar to the previously described endocytic mechanism of other lectins (mammalian galectins, bacterial lectins such as Shiga toxin,...), as Spike proteins often contain a galectin-fold. The project has three objectives: 1°) Explore the ability of Covid-19 and other beta-coronaviruses to bind sugars; 2°) Explore the ability of coronaviruses' Spike proteins to induce receptor clustering at the host cell surface and endocytic...

Hugues Guyot, Professor

" The aim of the project is to test the sensitivity and specificity of canine olfactory detection of SARS-CoV-2 on axillary sweat samples from either negative patients or from patients recognized as positive for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR. Dog training is underway and no results are available at this time. This study is organized according to a protocol equivalent to the NOSAÏS project (Pr. Dominique Grandjean, ENVA, France) and will be carried out in collaboration with it. Preliminary results of the NOSAÏS project are expected before starting the collaboration of cynotechnic teams from rescue areas (firefighters and/or civil protection and/or police. In this second stage, specific training of dogs is essential and need the participation of specialized firms. The detection of people contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 by tracking dogs can be of interest: - to identify people affected asymptomatically in public spaces, such as an airport; - as part of an intervention, to ensure a "pre-screening"...

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
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 Ruelle, Dr. - Anaïs Scohy, Clinical biologist - Benoît Kabamba, Pr.

" Thanks to high-throughput sequencing of the strains collected for the diagnosis, we document the viral spread within health care facilities. A better understanding of the virus transmission chains are key to evaluate the efficacy of hygiene measures that were implemented to avoid cross-contamination between patients and health care workers. A secondary objective is the analysis of clinical data related to the patients, in order to search genotypic differences that may possibly explain divergent pathogenic courses. "
Funding: Own funding, submitted calls.
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., PhD Chercheur qualifié at UCLouvain/IREC/MBLG This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Clinical biologist at Cliniques universitaires St-Luc This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Professor UCLouvain/Cliniques universitaires St-Luc

Jean-Claude Twizere, FNRS Senior Research Associate

ULiège - FNRS
" Our solution for SARS-CoV-2 induced disease is to develop small molecules able to disrupt interactions between CoV-2 proteins and human interacting proteins. We anticipate that these molecules will substantially affect CoV-2 virulence and associated lung inflammation. "
Funding: none
Contact: Dr.Jean-Claude TWIZERE University of Liege GIGA -Molecular Biology of Diseases Viral Interactomes Lab 1 Avenue de l'Hopital B-4000 Liege Belgium
Comment: We are looking for funding as well as potential collaborations in an "OPENSCREEN" strategy.

Jean-Francois Collet, Professor

UCLouvain - Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium
" Optimisation of bacterial strains for the expression of proteins from the COVID-19 virus Optimisation of bacterial strains for the expression of proteins from the COVID-19 virus Optimisation of bacterial strains for the expression of proteins from the COVID-19 virus "
Funding: FNRS
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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-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-Luc Belche, Chargé de cours

ULiège - Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium
" Analysis, in Brussels and Wallonia, of creation, daily management, and use of triage COVID-19 centers as well as satisfaction, suggestions of personnel working in these centers in order to develop a model for further crisis. "
Funding: FNRS: Urgent research credit submitted Possible extension to Flanders.
Publication References: Belche JL, Berrewaerts MA, Burette P, Lenoir AL, Duchesnes C, Giet D. Retrospective analysis of a suburban out-of-hours clinic in Belgium. Acta Clinica Belgica 2014, 69(5):341-347. Buret L, Duchesnes C, Giet D. Des dispositifs d'intégration clinique pour les situations complexes : aide fonctionnelle et défi normatif. Presse Médicale 2017, 46(11) :1113-1114.
Contact: JeanLuc BELCHE. Département de Médecine générale, Université de Liège. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Comment: Promoteur : JeanLuc BELCHE Investigateur principal : Louise Joly Chercheurs associés : Béatrice Scholtès, Christiane Duchesnes Etudiante en médecine...

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