Since the beginning, the members of the NOVA Saúde group of Chronic Diseases and Infections have been deeply involved in activities to control and combat the COVID-19 pandemic, making an important contribution at all levels of society. Here is a brief note on the actions developed by our team and inserted in the context of the organic units of the NOVA University Lisbon to which they belong. This summary clearly shows the commitment of researchers of the Chronic Diseases and Infections group to solve the current public health crisis.
Paula Videira participated jointly with the President of the Portuguese Association of Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation APCDG, Dr Vanessa Ferreira, in the launch of an information platform dedicated to these patients about COVID-19. The platform built on 11 different languages, counts with the contribution of 14 health professionals who are available to respond, in real time, to the doubts and concerns of patients and their families.
The Paula Videira's group was also awarded funding from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) for the project GLYCOVID-19 “Testing existing glycan-based drugs to neutralize SARS-CoV-2” that caught the attention of Portuguese media (Observer- Portuguese Scientists want to “avoid the entry "of SARS-CoV-2, Program Friday at 9 (05:41) - RTP1).
Alexandra R Fernandes, together with Pedro Baptista, led the FCT-NOVA team that involved a total of 34 professors and researchers from the Department of Life Sciences and Chemistry (integrated in UCIBIO @ FCT-NOVA) that in collaboration with the Institute Egas Moniz, signed a protocol with the Ministry of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security (MTSSS) to support vulnerable populations in facing the COVID-19 pandemic. This protocol aims to establish a technical and logistical partnership that allows the application of screening tests for COVID-19 disease, certified by the Ricardo Jorge Institute (INSA), to users and professionals from institutions in the social and private solidarity sectors.
At the same time, Alexandra Fernandes participates in a project funded by FCT- “Quick COVID-19 Detection (QuiCoviDe)” in partnership with Maria Gabriela Almeida, UCIBIO and CESEM (Principal Investigator), A. Fantoni, ISEL and UNINOVA, E. Alegria, ISEL and CQE, H. Barroso, CESEM, and H. Pinheiro, HCC, T. Nunes, HGO. This project aims to develop a simple, fast and low cost test for the direct detection of SARS-CoV-2, without the need for viral RNA extraction
Maria Grazia led an initiative with the aim of promoting the discussion of the language used during the first months of the pandemic, with a focus on metaphors. This initiative was attended by researchers from several countries, namely France, Spain, Italy and the United States.
Paulo Paixão, also president of the Portuguese Society of Virology, was appointed coordinator of the contingency plan for COVID-19, responsible for the validation of the RT-PCR analyzes carried out at the NMS. These analyzes have been done mainly for home users and for travelers to the Autonomous region of Madeira.
Helena Soares is the scientific coordinator of serological tests to detect specific SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (IgG). Among other studies, and in collaboration with the Helena Canhão team, she implemented serological screening in the NOVA University community, with a seroprevalence rate of 2.9 %. She is also the institutional representative in the Serology4COVID consortium, which includes several NOVA units, namely CEDOC | NMS and ITQB-NOVA, in addition to IGC, IMM and IBET.
Cláudia Conceição was, together with the virologist Celso Cunha, live every afternoon on the Questions with Response program broadcast on TSF radio. The program allowed listeners to ask their questions about the new coronavirus during the most critical phase of the pandemic, to provide a better explanation of it. From Monday to Friday at 3 pm for two months, listeners had their questions answered through a telephone line and the radio website. Learn more here.
Cláudia Conceição and Miguel Viveiros collaborated in the initiative “COVID 360 Information Center - IHMT / NOVA / CPLP” aimed at the scientific community and in general, with a primary focus on Portuguese-speaking countries.
Miguel Viveiros participates in an IHMT project to support the molecular diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19, at Hospitals Egas Moniz and São Francisco Xavier (CHLO), in monitoring infection in healthcare professionals. He also participates in the project "Factors of genetic susceptibility and immunological protection to COVID19" developed in partnership with the Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Ocidental and with the Laboratory of Disease Genetics of the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência and funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Centro R & D / FCT GHTM / IHMT.
Raquel Sá-Leão leads a team of about 50 volunteers from ITQB NOVA who have been processing diagnostic tests for COVID-19 at the request of the Municipality of Oeiras to help tracking public servants that are in constant contact with the population, namely policemen and firefighters. So far more than 2500 tests have been processed. Learn more here and here.
Source: ITQB NOVA Communication and Image Office
Paulo Sousa is part of a group of 30 professors, researchers and students who responded quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic, through the Covid-19 Barometer, which is dedicated to monitoring and analyzing the available data to support the policies of the Ministry of Health, and to provide quality information and analysis to the media. The group was organized into four themes (social opinion, policies and interventions, occupational health and epidemiology) and launched an online questionnaire to monitor the perceptions and behaviors of the Portuguese during the pandemic.
Source: Barómetro COVID-19
Carla Nunes, Director of ENSP-NOVA, was invited by the Government to join the restricted Advisory Council that met every two weeks with the President of the Republic, Prime Minister, political leaders and members of civil society, to report on the evolution of the pandemic. Up to the month of July, this group produced 4 scientific articles, 37 working papers and scientific analyzes, which resulted in more than 700 news in national and international media.
NOVAhealth Chronic disease and infection – sept 2020