Science: our power to defeat COVID-19

by Asociacion Apadrina la Ciencia (Association Sponsor Science)
Science: our power to defeat COVID-19
Science: our power to defeat COVID-19
Science: our power to defeat COVID-19
Science: our power to defeat COVID-19
Science: our power to defeat COVID-19
Science: our power to defeat COVID-19
Science: our power to defeat COVID-19
Science: our power to defeat COVID-19
Ultraviolet light virus inactivation
Ultraviolet light virus inactivation

Dear supporters,

First of all, we really hope that now that the COVID pandemic is pretty much under control, and has become almost a thing of the past, you continue to be safe and can enjoy life as it was before COVID!

In this report, we would like to express again our most sincere gratitude for your generous contributions.

We also take this opportunity to give you a brief update of how your donations have contributing to the fight against COVID-19 during the last year.

Thanks to your help we have been able to complete some studies aimed at both controlling the COVID-19 disease as well as to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the environment to prevent infections. These studies have been performed at the Center for Applied Medicine (CIMA) of the University of Navarra (Spain) in collaboration with groups from the CEIT Basque Research and Technology Center (San Sebastian, Spain) and the Center of Molecular Biology (CBM, Madrid, Spain).

In these studies we were able to evaluate the anti-COVID capacity of compounds able to kill “old cells” in the body. These old cells, also called senescent cells, seem to be involved in the progression of the COVID-19 disease and are more abundant in older people, making them more susceptible to have the severe symptoms of Covid-19. We found that using a mix of two of those compounds, also called “senolytic drugs” we reduced mortality, delayed the onset of disease, and reduced the number of clinical symptoms in old mice infected with SARS-CoV-2. This study, which was led by our collaborator Cayetano von Kobbe (CBM) in collaboration with the group of Cristian Smerdou at CIMA offers some hope for the treatment of severe COVID, especially in elderly patients. In order to make these results available for the scientific community we recently published this study in the prestigious journal “Ageing Cell” (2023 Mar;22(3):e13771). In this article we readily acknowledged your contribution to Apadrina la Ciencia. 

In addition, we also developed a method to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus using an autonomous moving robot that emits ultraviolet light. We showed that an exposition of less than one minute was enough to completely inactivate the virus present on a surface at a distance of two meters! See the photo of how we tested the inactivation of the virus with ultraviolet light in our biosafety level 3 laboratory at CIMA. The virus had been deposited on the surface of different materials, in this case wood blocks. This system could be very useful to decontaminate hospital rooms and public spaces. These studies, which were recently published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology (2022 Sep;11:100138) were performed by Cristina Olagüe in the group of Cristian Smerdou and Gloria Gonzalez Aseguinolaza at CIMA in collaboration with groups at CEIT Basque Research and Technology Center.

Being aware that communicating our research to the general public is very important we have also participated in some outreach activities. As an example, in March 2023, one of our collaborators, Cristian Smerdou, gave several talks to elderly people about the origin of COVID-19 and the research performed at CIMA. This was part of a teaching program for senior citizens organized by the University of Navarra.

A great part of this work has been possible thanks to your help. In particular we employed your money to buy reagents used in these studies. For example, with every 10 € donation, the researchers were able to analyze one laboratory sample to determine whether a certain compound, like the senolytic drugs previously mentioned, could have some effect on the infection by SARS-CoV-2. In this picture you can see how one of our technicians at CIMA manipulates SARS-CoV-2 samples in a safety hood inside our biosafety level 3 laboratory. But each compound had to be tested at many different concentrations in different cells, as well as in animals, making the number of samples for these studies very high.

As Dr. Smerdou explains “Our group at CIMA Universidad de Navarra in collaboration with other groups have found some promising compounds that could mitigate the severe symptoms of Covid-19 and prevent infections”. These results are important and if translated to the clinic they could hopefully contribute to save lives in the future.

We will let you know soon where your generosity is headed next time!

In the meantime, please help us spread the word further, among family, friends, colleagues…

By donating your money to Apadrina la Ciencia, you are contributing to projects that help handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain and to understand the Science behind the SARS-CoV-2 and the pandemic.

Thank you all again for your support!

See you soon!

Working with SARS-CoV-2 at biosafety Level 3 lab
Working with SARS-CoV-2 at biosafety Level 3 lab
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

All the knowledge we have gathered throughout the History of Humanity has been the reason why we have achieved the wellbeing we enjoy today. This knowledge has been possible thanks to all the curious men and women who have asked questions to understand the world surrounding us, who have searched for new solutions or who have explored remote places. They have done so by investigating and providing answers coming from ALL areas of knowledge.

It is in situations as the recent pandemic that it becomes more evident that the management of the problems we face, has social, political and human implications that require the participation of scientists with expertise in Social and Human Sciences.

An example of Human Health issues solved by Social Science scientists occurred during the Ebola crises. One of the places of greatest contagion was at funerals, when saying goodbye to beloved ones who have died of the disease and were highly infectious. At funerals, it was very difficult for families to follow the recommendations of health authorities, usually recommended from outside Africa. Facing this serious situation, a team of anthropology researchers who knew the culture and traditions proposed together with the community leaders, new rituals compatible with the sanitary measures to avoid contagion.

More information about this topic:

https://elpais.com/ciencia/2020-10-14/es-posible-resolver-los-problemas-de-una-pandemia-sin-contar-con-las-ciencias-sociales.html?event_log=go

https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-la-sociedad-frente-al-espejo-133506

Since the origins of Apadrina la Ciencia in 2012, one of our main objectives has been to draw attention to the need to promote and invest in research from all areas of knowledge. In fact, all our calls for proposals, contracts for young researchers, PhD thesis awards or funding for research projects have been addressed to researchers from all fields of scientific research.

Recently, by donating your money to Apadrina la Ciencia, you have helped us to raise another $ 5,000 that we want to dedicate to promote Social and Human Sciences projects that have been relevant in the fight against covid-19 pandemic.

This time we would like all donors to propose Social and Human Sciences projects that have contributed to provide solutions to reduce the impact of the covid-19 pandemic. Please, send us your suggestions via email to GlobalGiving. As in all our calls for proposals, an external committee will evaluate those proposals suggested by you and others proposed by Apadrina la Ciencia to decide which project will be funded. In the coming months we will inform which project is the recipient one.

We look forward to your suggestions!

Thank you very much for your support and commitment to science.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Inspectioning a farm in South Corea (Shutterstock)
Inspectioning a farm in South Corea (Shutterstock)

The COVID pandemic that we have been suffering for almost three years has changed our lives in many aspects and we continue suffering the death of our beloved ones. We could say that the worst is over and, thanks to vaccines and improved treatments we are managing to coexist with this disease that suddenly appeared among us.

However, the threats of new emerging viruses are still there and we need to keep doing research to be prepared when it happens; we do not know when and how serious it will be, but the data indicate that it will happen sooner or later.

One of these threats is the highly contagious and especially deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus in poultry, which was first detected in humans in 1997. According to the latest data from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report and the European Union (EU) reference laboratory, this avian influenza season has had the highest incidence in Europe observed so far in birds and we will have to be very attentive to the surveillance of the incidence in humans.

Fortunately, bird-to-human transmission is very rare and human-to-human transmission has not been observed. However, because it causes severe disease in humans and because viruses easily mutate and acquire the ability to spread among people, avian influenza represents a major pandemic threat.

We recommend this article for more information:

https://theconversation.com/diez-circunstancias-que-nos-abocan-a-una-nueva-pandemia-182868

This message is not intended to be an alarm, but to raise awareness of the importance of being alert to the appearance of emerging viruses and the need to invest in research to be prepared to fight them.

So far, by donating your money to Apadrina la Ciencia, you have made possible three biomedical projects that helped to understand the Science behind the SARS-CoV-2. We now ask you to spread the word and help us to support more scientific projects to have the necessary knowledge to deal with any emerging disease that may arise.

Thank you all again for your support.

Apadrina la Ciencia

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Dear supporters,

 

We are very happy and proud to share with you the successful outcome of the three research biomedical projects about COVID-19 that, thanks to your generous contributions, Apadrina la Ciencia has managed to facilitate.

 

In May 20, at the very beginning of the pandemics, the first project (5000 €) was essential to quickly cover diagnostic strategies such as performance of PCRs tests at retirement and nursing homes in Madrid. It saved many lives. The second project (5000€) focused on the use of plants as biofactories to obtain large amounts of viral proteins needed for antibody detection or antibody induction, in such a way that they can contribute to diagnostic kits or vaccines. And the most recent one (5000 €), intended to obtain laboratory reagents needed in the infectivity assays performed to identify new antiviral compounds against SARS-CoV-2 or in PCR analysis of samples generated in the lab, as well as safety protection equipment imperative to work with the virus in a especial high safety laboratory. Some very promising products have been identified.

 

As you can see, your donations provided immediate support to scientists searching for novel COVID-19 diagnostic tools and therapies. And they came at the best moment, when most of the scientific knowledge on the coronavirus causing COVID-19 was at nascent stages. By donating your money to Apadrina la Ciencia, you have made possible three biomedical projects that helped handle the COVID-19 pandemics in Spain and to understand the Science behind the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But we cannot forget the relevant impact that Social Sciences and Humanities have played in these difficult times, covering fields that address the social, economic, cultural, psychological, and political impact of Covid-19, in areas like public heath, psychology, human rights, economic inequality…. Behavioural and social sciences are critical for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. We need a final push to include them in the equation.Funding the joint effort of virologists, immunologists, epidemiologists, mathematicians, psychologists, etc, is the most effective measure to fight diseases and pandemics. We ask you to spread the word and help us to reach next goal: raise the amount remaining to be able to offer another 5000 € grant which will be invested in a Social Science and Humanities project. This way, Apadrina la Ciencia can fund a much needed project on these fields and complete a holistic approach to this major problem.

 

We are very close to reach the goal!!!

Thank you all again for your support.

Apadrina la Ciencia

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Picture 1
Picture 1

Dear supporters,

First of all, we really hope that after these months you continue to be safe and free of COVID.

In this sixth report, we would like to express our most sincere gratitude for your generous contributions.

We also take this opportunity to give you a brief update of how your donations are contributing to the fight against COVID-19. In particular, we want to inform you of the research performed by the group of Dr. Cristian Smerdou and Dr. Gloria Gonzalez-Aseguinolaza at the Center for Applied Medicine (CIMA) of the University of Navarra (Spain) who has benefitted from your help

This group has been actively working to find new antiviral compounds against SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. For that purpose, they have tested many different drugs, some of which are currently being used to treat other diseases, such as cancer and autoimmune pathologies. Their approach is straightforward, they infect a special type of monkey cells in the laboratory with an isolate of SARS-CoV-2 in the absence or in the presence of the drug to be tested. Of course, they do not need to use a monkey for these experiments, because the cells that they use where obtained many years ago and can be cultivated for many generations. The result of the experiment is very simple to analyze: if the drug has antiviral potential, SARS-CoV-2 will not propagate, and very little virus will be obtained from the infected cells. However, if the drug does not work, the virus will propagate in the cells and a lot of new viruses will be recovered. The quantification of the virus can be done by PCR, the same technique that is used to detect it when you are infected by SARS-CoV-2. The only difference is that they do not need a nasal swab to get a small sample from the cell culture… They can also analyze the amount of virus by infecting cells and observing if they are killed by the virus as it is shown in a representative picture below.

According to Dr. Smerdou, these experiments were a bit frustrating because most of the tested drugs had absolutely no effect on the propagation of SARS-CoV-2, and some of them were even toxic to the cells. But scientists are used to have negative results, so the group did not get discouraged and continued testing more and more drugs. Until they found a particular compound derived from a plant cultivated in Thailand that showed a clear antiviral effect. Most importantly, this compound was not toxic to the cells, suggesting that it might also be used to treat patients. The compound had been previously used in traditional oriental medicine to treat several diseases and it was known for its anti-inflammatory properties, something that the group has also confirmed in several experiments. Now they are proceeding to test whether this compound is safe in small rodents and if it could prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection in vivo, two important steps before being tested in patients.

This work has been possible in part thanks to your help. In particular the research group has employed your money to buy several reagents important for these studies. For example, with every 10 € donation, the researchers were able to analyze one laboratory sample to determine whether a certain antiviral compound was able to inhibit viral infection in cells. But each compound had to be tested at many different concentrations in different cell lines, making the number of samples for these studies very high.

As Dr. Smerdou explains “Our group at CIMA Universidad de Navarra has tested many different drugs against SARS-CoV-2, finding some promising candidates”. Now it is important to validate these results in vivo and to perform further analyses that could bring this therapy closer to the clinic, thus hopefully contributing to save lives.

They sent us a photo of the biosafety level 3 laboratory where a volunteer is working with SARS-CoV-2 (Picture1)

Here is another photo of plates with monkey cells that were infected with SARS-CoV-2. The purple color indicates where the cells are. The holes in the plates (pointed by yellow arrows) indicate where the virus has propagated killing the cells (there is less virus in the plate on the right). (Picture2)

We will let you know soon where your generosity is headed next time!

In the meantime, please help us spread the word further, among family, friends, colleagues…

By donating your money to Apadrina la Ciencia, you are contributing to research projects that help handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain and to understand the Science behind the SARS-CoV-2 and the pandemic.

Thank you all again for your support!

Picture 2
Picture 2
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.

Sign up for updates

Project Leader:
Carmen Simon
Madrid , Spain
$20,130 raised of $32,951 goal
 
180 donations
$12,821 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Asociacion Apadrina la Ciencia (Association Sponsor Science) has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Get incredible stories, promotions, and matching offers in your inbox

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.