Two projects with HUB participants granted with PPP allowance for COVID-19 research

COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Top Sector Life Sciences & Health set up a call for COVID-19 related research proposals at the end of March. In one month four projects have been awarded and were granted PPP Allowance to start their research. HUB participants and alumni – ECG-Excellence, ISA & ImmuneTune – are part of two of those four projects. Below these project are shortly explained and we will keep you posted on the developments.

  1. Electrocardiogram analysis for early detection of cardiovascular diseases in COVID-19
    “This project started on 20 April and will take 14 weeks to complete. The consortium partners of this project are University Medical Center Utrecht, Dutch Cardiovascular Alliance and ECG-Excellence (former: Peacs). The goal of this project is to accelerate and improve quality of the non-invasive 12-lead ECG recording and data analysis to support early detection of cardiovascular disease in COVID-19 patients.

Accelerate and improve quality of non-invasive 12-lead ECG recording and data analysis to support early detection of Cardiovascular disease in COVID-19 patients

The large numbers of COVID-19 patients of which a significant number have additional cardiac problems. Consequently these patients are at high risk. Detecting cardiac disfunction among COVID-19 patients is therefore of great importance for treatment of the patient. The cardiac problems a number of COVID patients develop are tachycardias and atypical T wave morphology changes. With the CineECG technology the waveform changes can be related to the cardiac anatomy and thus be indicative for developing but undetectable cardiac problems.

It was recently shown that the CineECG technology can localise potential cardiac problems to the cardiac anatomy from the standard 12 lead ECG for Brugada patients. In this study test the hypothesis that the CineECG is able to detect the typical waveform changes in the COVID patient group with cardiac problems from just the 12 lead ECG, thereby reducing the clinical burden to rule out cardiac problems in the COVID patients or to trigger COVID-19 patients treatment with cardiac disfunction.”

  1. Leiden joins forces to develop improved coronavirus vaccines
    “This project started in May 2020 and will take 2 years to complete. The consortium partners of this project are Leiden University Medical Center, ISA Therapeutics, and Immunetune, which are all based in Leiden. The goal of this project is developing enhanced vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and other human coronaviruses.

CoVax2: development of enhanced vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and other human coronaviruses.

International companies/institutes are developing vaccines specific for the Spike viral protein, with the promise to induce neutralising antibodies. The Spike protein is however prone to mutations, and coronaviruses may actually take advantage of antibodies to enhance infection of host cells. Antibody-inducing vaccines based on the Spike protein may thus become less effective over time.

The CoVax2 approach distinguishes itself from other initiatives through combining two strong vaccine platforms and by including corona antigens that elicit both antibody and cellular immune responses and are conserved between virus strains. Essentially, this is build on a concerted effort comprising experts in immunology and corona virology, and on expertise in two synthetic vaccine platform technologies: DNA- and synthetic long peptide (SLP)-based vaccines.

The DNA/SLP-based vaccines, which should generate both neutralizing antibodies and long-lasting T-cell immunity, will be generated and tested both in vitro and in animal models with live coronavirus. In addition, high-dimensional single-cell technologies (CyTOF mass cytometry and RNA sequencing) will be applied to discover correlates of protection. These efforts thus aim to develop a broadly applicable, coronavirus vaccines in order to counteract current and potential future outbreaks.”

Source: Health-Holland