In response to the health crisis we experienced in early 2020, in a tremendous general momentum, a large number of scientific and medical initiatives were launched in record time to manage the short term. Medicine and science have never moved as fast as they did during this crisis. Today, after this acute situation, a number of medical and scientific uncertainties remain about the COVID-19 virus. They force us to apply prudent health rules. These uncertainties legitimately raise legitimate concerns among health professionals and citizens. Although we are beginning to understand this virus, we are still lacking hindsight on a number of critical points. There is a need to develop ever more effective tests or adapted treatments. These uncertainties are likely to increase when thinking is carried out in a compartmentalized manner, without multidisciplinary consultation, in an explosion of sometimes contradictory results.
To deal with these uncertainties, it is necessary to focus on certainties. We must rely on our major resources, which are talent and innovation. If no traditional solution is suitable or partially satisfactory, then new ones must be invented, but under certain conditions:
- collecting all available information without prejudice by getting rid of the pressure exerted by the background noise generated by the media, then analyzing it and finding the flaw in the pathogen concerned;
- multiply the development of several diagnostic/prognostic and therapeutic solutions to ensure that at least one of each works or works in combination;
- to collect and provide access to a large number of biological samples from patients collected with their constantly informed consent, so that all researchers can develop their own research equitably.
Relying on public hospitals and on a large network of biobanks and more than 700 medical biology analysis laboratories (LABMs) on French territory, Biobank Lariboisière is launching its "research white plan" "Le Sémaphore" to provide access to a very large number of samples for research on categories of patients with varying degrees of severity. The Semaphore aims 1) to ensure permanent national vigilance on the possible resurgence of COVID-19 via the network of LABMs present on the front line of the epidemic, in direct contact with a greater number of our fellow citizens who are paucisymptomatic; 2) to allow the natural history of the disease to be followed for patients whose condition worsens and who end up being admitted to hospital intensive care; finally 3) to provide a professional operational organization that will allow the maximum number of precious samples to be made available for research.
If our hospital forces are managing the emergency brilliantly, it is necessary simultaneously to form a coalition of medical, scientific and technical experts bringing together a wide range of skills in order to take the problem in hand with hindsight and a different and original angle of attack. The Biobank Lariboisière has brought together within the VIRINNOV consortium, 8 private and public partners around two R&D axes conducted in parallel: a diagnostic axis and a therapeutic axis. Each of these two axes includes several solutions under study in order to minimise the risk of failure. The partners are developing innovative in silico, in vitro and in vivo tools useful for diagnosis and drug design, combined with know-how in the fields of regulatory affairs for diagnosis and drug development; drug formulation; commercial strategy; artificial intelligence and cloud computing.
The VIRINNOV consortium is open to all good will and any innovations that could help the consortium move forward.
If you wish to join us in this fight, please contact the Biobank Lariboisière.
Pr Philippe Manivet - Director of the Biobank Lariboisière