Chasing COVID was one of Biocat’s star projects in 2020. Throughout the pandemic, Biocat worked to raise awareness in the ecosystem of all the projects and initiatives being carried out during the most tumultuous months of the healthcare crisis. So, as of October, there were more than 60 research projects underway in Catalonia on Covid-19 and the virus that causes it, SARS-CoV-2.

With this in mind, and in order to boost visibility and collaboration among stakeholders in the ecosystem, on October 22, Biocat hosted a virtual workshop on the Covid projects in the BioRegion of Catalonia called: Chasing COVID. 229 people (196 online and 33 speakers and organizers) connected virtually to debate and learn more about the Catalan Covid projects.

The event featured 20 five-minute presentations in four sessions/categories: Repurposing, New Therapies, Vaccines, and Medtech & Population and genetic studies.

Each session presented the projects from the ecosystem, explaining their methodology, excellence and impact. At the end of the session, the audience voted online for the best projects in the Beautiful Science category, for projects with new, innovative, smart or well-designed mechanism of action, methodology or technology, even if still far from reaching patients; and the Game Changer category, for a key mechanism or technology that could be a turning point in the field as we know it, which each won €1,000.

- The winner in the Beautiful Science category was a project, led by Nuria Montserrat at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, that proposes to generate and use organoids with bioengineering to study possible therapeutic solutions to Covid-19.

- As the Game Changer, the audience put its money on diagnostics and voted for Maria Soler, of the team led by Laura Lechuga at ICN2, who is developing a

diagnostic system based on optical nanotechnology that can detect three things with the same device (whole virus, PCR and serology test).

Then, there was a debate that sought to address issues like how SARS-CoV-2 has changed how researchers do science.

The event was organized by Biocat with collaboration from the Catalan Ministry of Health Department of Research and Innovation (DGRIS) and Department of Research and Innovation (DGR), Catalan Ministry of Business and Knowledge, ”la Caixa” Foundation and EIT Health.

Presentation during the virtual event Chasing COVID

Nuria Montserrat, awarded in the category Beautiful Science

Maria Soler, awarded in the category Game Changer