VIB achieves important milestone in the development of a COVID-19 drug


Earlier this year, the lab of Xavier Saelens (VIB-UGent) announced the discovery of a unique antibody that is capable of binding the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). The antibody was developed in collaboration with two research groups in the US. The team has now established that the antibody can neutralize a lab variant of the virus, an important step forward in the development of a potential antiviral drug against the new coronavirus. 

Jan Tavernier (VIB-UGent) in Top 20 Translational Researchers


Moving from scientific insight to innovative applications is not always an easy road to travel. Each year, the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology compiles a list of twenty researchers who excel in navigating this challenging path. Jan Tavernier (VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology) is only the second Belgian ever, and one of the very few Europeans, to make it onto the US-dominated list. The list is an aggregate score of number of patents granted in that year, patent citations and h-index. 

A protein tag to study the immune system


Researchers from VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology, University of Iowa (USA) and other collaborators, developed a novel approach to better understand a basic defense mechanism of our immune system. Central is ISG15, a small protein with a role in the immune system. With the newly developed method, scientists can now identify and study proteins tagged with ISG15, allowing them to unravel its many functions in fighting disease, potentially leading to novel antimicrobial drugs. The work appears in Nature Communications.

Improved diagnosis of liver disease


Chronic liver disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with increasing prevalence. In terms of total years of life lost, it is now the thirteenth most burdensome disease overall and the fifth leading cause of death in the young adult age group of 25 – 50 years. In Europe, liver disease causes 2% of all deaths. The main culprits are alcohol abuse, and, rapidly increasing, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) that is associated with diabetes and obesity.