IBCH PAS in the fight against coronavirus
IBCH PAS is a leading Polish scientific center, for many years specializing in RNA research, including research on viruses containing RNA as its genetic material. These viruses also include the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causing COVID-19.
Immediately after the first infections with this virus in Poland, scientists from the Institute began work on tests to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the human body. Thanks to their knowledge and experience as well as excellently equipped facilities, they have launched a "Viral Support Group" performing tests on SARS-CoV-2, operating in 24/7 mode. The group is managed by Dr. Luiza Handschuch, and the spiritus movens of the entire COVID-19 activity of IBCH PAS is Prof. Marek Figlerowicz, the Director of IBCH PAS.
What's more, scientists from the Institute have developed the production of their own test in cooperation with Polish enterprises. Its quality is equal to commercial tests, and it is much cheaper and available in quantities of hundreds of thousands. Initially, the project was financed exclusively from the Institute's own resources, but ambitious goals for the large-scale production of tests required financial support. The first subsidy (PLN 100,000) was provided by the Wielkopolska Marshal's Office, as well as companies and individuals wishing to support the "Viral Support Group". On April 9, the Minister of Science and Higher Education, Jarosław Gowin, awarded the Institute funding for production of 100,000 tests.
The significance and potential of IBCH PAS in SARS-CoV-2 research is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the Institute, together with the Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center affiliated with the IBCH PAS, was selected as the national node of the European initiative "Covid-19 Portal" coordinated by the European Bioinformatics Institute operating within the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).
Watch the movie: Polish TEST For CORONAVIRUS - HOW it WORKS? (Poland In, 30.04.2020).
IBCH PAS in brief
The Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences is one of the leading scientific units in Poland. Its exceptionality across Europe and even the whole world is proven by multi-faceted activities at the interface of three sciences: chemistry, biology and informatics. It is a place where interdisciplinary studies encompassing such fields as bioorganic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, systems biology, synthetic biology and bioinformatics are conducted; and in particular – research on the synthesis, structure and function of nucleic acids, and proteins along with their components, as well as their mutual interactions in model and cellular conditions.
The Institute's history dates back to 1969 when the Department of Stereochemistry of Natural Products within the Institute of Organic Chemistry, PAS was established. Subsequently in 1980, it was transformed into an independent Department of Bioorganic Chemistry, PAS and finally in 1988, reorganized into the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, PAS.
The Institute currently hires ca. 650 employees, of which approx. half work in the Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center affiliated with IBCH PAS. Scientific studies in the biological and chemical labs are carried out by about 110 scientists, among them 21 full professors and 37 associated professors, supported by about 90 engineering and technical employees. There are about 100 Ph.D. students participating in the Partnership-based Doctoral Program of IBCH PAS, accomplishing their dissertations at IBCH PAS and other institutes of the PAS. In addition, IBCH PAS co-creates the Poznań Doctoral School of the Institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PDS IPAS). The Institute is authorized to confer PhD and DSc (habilitation) degrees in chemistry within chemical and biological sciences.
IBCH PAS is comprised of 30 research departments, supported by 13 specialized laboratories offering high-class infrastructure. Other significant components within the Institute's framework are the PAS Center for Science, Scientific Publishers, Guest Rooms and the Library. Moreover, jointly with the Institute of Computing Science, Poznan University of Technology, the Institute created the European Center for Bioinformatics and Genomics, which is a unique initiative in our country.