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INSA. Global Virus Investigation also speaks Portuguese



INSA.  Global Virus Investigation also speaks Portuguese

“FROMand my lab will identify any methodology that we think might be useful to other labs around the world for discovering, characterizing or sequencing the genome of any microorganism, which we immediately share through scientific dissemination channels. It is networking,” explained researcher João Paulo Gomes of the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) in Luz.

This is how discoveries are published in international public databases and “have free access” for “verification by the entire scientific community.” Even Twitter is for comments. Sharing, not competition, was “one of the few good things the pandemic has brought.”

Because it is important to identify the pathogen as quickly as possible – be it a virus, bacterium or other microorganism – to understand its behavior and help health authorities protect the population, for example, adjust vaccines.

Portugal is involved in several European projects in consortia with France, the UK, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden and Denmark. The work is dynamic and in a team: “One country develops one methodology, another country develops another, we bring everything together, hold periodic meetings and disseminate it scientifically.”

As he told Lusa, Portugal contributes “not only to the laboratory part related to our sequencing capabilities, but also to the development of ‘software’ to better analyze the genomics obtained with this equipment.”

The head of the bioinformatics core of the Department of Infectious Diseases of the INSA says that over the past two years Portugal has been involved in half a dozen European projects, all of them in the field of “developing and optimizing methodologies to combat these microorganisms, especially viruses that are emerging and have a great ability to spread.”

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The spirit of sharing also manifested itself this year with the outbreak of “monkey pox”. “We managed to work very reliably and quickly, revealing to the scientific community not only what [vírus] had the potential to be less aggressive – since it is usually associated with African countries in the Congo Basin, and this was more associated with West African countries – but also that, after all, it had many more mutations than what could the scientific community, wait,” says Joao Paulo Gomes.

Result: Portugal became the first country to determine the genetic sequence of the virus and share it.

Regarding the coronavirus that caused the covid-19 pandemic, the researcher explains that Portugal was one of the first countries in Europe to be “invaded” by the BA.5 sub-option in March of this year, giving it an “advantage”. in the investigation.

Networking was essential. Some countries, the European Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have asked Portugal to publish the results in terms of vaccine efficacy against this subvariant.

In this collaborative atmosphere, reagents are also shared, which in Portugal facilitated the sequencing and monitoring of monkeypox cases: “There were laboratories that managed to develop a faster method for sequencing (…) reagents for several countries so that they could conduct tests in their country and publish the results.

The ultimate goal is always to speed up research and find solutions, because, according to the researcher, public health in Portugal is “no different from public health in Ireland, the United Kingdom or Spain.”

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This spirit of sharing and networking is also evident in INSAFLU, a bioinformatics tool developed at INSA that allows any laboratory in the world to quickly and easily analyze and integrate genome analysis into the surveillance of various viruses. It started mainly for the influenza (flu) virus, but has since been adapted to other microorganisms.

“Once the SARS-CoV-2 genome was published, we started adapting it to become the main tool for analyzing the genome of this new virus in Portugal,” said Vitor Borges, molecular geneticist responsible for the platform also used for the analysis. monkeypox virus.

“We have users from all over the world who can create their account on our platform and analyze their data,” he explains, highlighting the advantage that users are not required to have very advanced bioinformatics knowledge.

And what drives the platform? This is data coming from sequencing devices. “Let’s imagine DNA broken into millions of very small pieces. It is this basic material that is introduced into this platform and then allows you to collect, reconstruct the sequence of the virus, ”explains the researcher.

He recalls that genomic surveillance has been more consistent over the past year: “Typically, with influenza, the focus is on the seasonal period to try to understand what variants are circulating and so that – as a reference laboratory – international organizations can be informed. about what is spreading in Portugal and other countries.”

“Only this knowledge on a global scale allows, for example, the development of better vaccines that can predict the variants that will circulate,” he adds.

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Raquel Guiomar, who is in charge of the National Reference Laboratory for Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses at INSA, also speaks of the importance of this network and the international scientific cooperation that Portugal is involved in.

Since December 2021, he has been a member of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Viral Respiratory Disease Surveillance Network (DNCC) Coordinating Committee, which advises ECDC on matters related to viral respiratory diseases.

“The laboratory not only detects, but also isolates the influenza virus. And these viruses are sent to the World Health Organization reference laboratory in London for further characterization,” he says.

Read also: Covid-19: Portugal virus transmission index rises to 0.98

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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