Did you know that Belgium has a key role in the manufacturing of Covid tests and vaccines and is acting as a hub for the transfer of vaccines?
Discover these three pieces of information explaining Belgium's central position in the fight against Covid.
1. Brussels Airport and Indian airline SpiceJet will work together to transport sensitive vaccines and medicines.
Brussels Airport has been acting as a hub for the transfer of vaccines since December 2020 and has already sent 'more than 10 million doses of vaccine around the world', according to the airport's CEO, Arnaud Feist. This trend will grow in the coming months, as the site moves up a gear in January with agreements such as the one just signed with SpiceJet.
Brussels Airport and SpiceJet will work with governments, pharmaceutical companies and transport companies to ensure that vaccines are delivered under optimal conditions, including maintaining the temperature required for the storage of COVID-19 vaccines at a constant level.
Over the last ten years, Brussels Airport has been investing in services and products for the pharmaceutical sector, which plays an important role in our economy. If we combine this with its geographical location in the heart of Europe and its excellent logistics sector, Belgium has a real role to play in the fight against the pandemic.
2. Leuven University Hospital is developing a new detection tool based on exhaled air
A new Coranavirus test, based on exhaled air, is being developed at Leuven University Hospital, in collaboration with the Imec technological research centre, which has become one of the world's leading micro- and nano-electronics R&D centres.
The Flemish Minister for Innovation has announced that a new type of test, based on exhaled air, is currently under investigation. Its reliability is based on the fact that exhaled air is the main route of transmission of the virus, and this revolutionary test offers the huge advantage of confirming within five minutes whether a person is a carrier and likely to transmit the virus.
The researchers' goal is to have a prototype available by summer 2021. Two million euros have been made available for the test to be carried out at Brussels Airport during this period.
3. New Covid-19 vaccine to be tested at ITM Antwerp
The Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp is conducting a phase 3 clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine by the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson to evaluate the vaccine's efficacy and protection level before it is marketed.
Although the efficacy and safety of the vaccine have already been extensively studied in the two previous phases, and the vaccine passed them successfully, researchers from ITM and the pharmaceutical company will test the candidate vaccine in different target groups, including people with chronic diseases.
To ensure that patients respond satisfactorily to the vaccine, the researchers will closely monitor each study participant for a period of one year. ITM is one of the six Belgian centres recruiting participants for this study.
Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine is attractive to countries with limited resources because it is administered as a single injection and can be stored at refrigerator temperature for up to three months.