Discover and test new antiviral drugs to strengthen the response capacity to future pandemics.
This is the aim of EvaMobs, the research project of a consortium of which the Viral Infection Cell Biology Research Group of the Católica Biomedical Research Centre and the Gulbenkian Science Institute is a part.
To achieve this, the project, where the research group led by Maria João Amorim participates, has received funding of 8 million euros from Horizon Europe for the year 2023. As a method, EvaMobs proposes to develop a versatile platform dedicated to the production of antiviral biopharmaceuticals, adaptable to different types of virus. This aims to ensure that Europe is equipped with innovative technology capable of quickly responding to future pandemics.
In that sense, the project aims to computationally generate molecules with therapeutic potential. These molecules are being synthesised and tested in viral infection trials by the groups led by Isabel Abreu and João Vicente, from the António Xavier Institute of Chemical and Biological Technology at NOVA University Lisbon (ITQB NOVA), as well as in the laboratories of the Institute of Molecular Medicine (iMM) led by Miguel Castanho and in the laboratory of Maria João Amorim. The most promising molecules will be tested in animal models, culminating in a clinical trial in humans to assess efficacy and safety.
The consortium, brings together experts from different fields, with 11 partners from Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Croatia, Germany and the Netherlands.
EvaMobs stands out as the only funded project with national coordination in the Health Cluster 2023 competition, led by Cláudio M. Soares and Diana Lousa, from ITQB NOVA. It is worth noting that the consortium had already received funding of 1 million euros from La Caixa in 2022. This funding, granted to the BioPlaTTar project, is focused on developing a platform to combat COVID-19 and the flu.
The new funding now obtained will allow the research to be expanded to cover other viruses and drugs, taking the research to a clinical trial phase.
FIGURE CAPTION: The EvaMobs project aims to create and test a platform dedicated to the production of antivirals adapted to various viruses. It will use influenza A, SARS-CoV-2, respiratory syncytial virus and Zika virus for proof of principle, but will later be applied to other viruses, including Ebola. A imagem foi criada por Lúcia Antunes and Joana Carvalho.