Brands Land of Excellence: biotechnology and new diagnostic technologies to prevent pandemics

In the weekly program of the Marche Regional Day at Expo 2020 Dubai, a forum on the One Health approach and the role of biotechnology in the development of new methods for virus detection

Marche Land of Excellence is the week, from 21 to 26 February, of the presence of the Marche Region at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding between the vice president and councilor for productive activities of the Marche Region kicked off the program of events in the Italian Pavilion Mirco Carloni, and the president of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce Hamad Buamim. The objectives of the memorandum include the development of relations between university-level institutions in the fields of scientific and technological research.

Land of Excellence brands 

As part of the thematic week of Expo 2020 Dubai dedicated to food, running until February 27, the Marche Region has brought progress in the field of innovation and technology to the universal exhibition.

Marche, land of excellence. This is a large project in which the region, on the occasion of Expo 2020 Dubai, wanted to present and promote the excellence of the territory to the world.

One of the excellences of the Marche Region is Diatheva, an innovative and cutting-edge company in the field of biotechnology, spin-off ofUniversity of Urbino, which participated, together with 30 other companies, in a tender launched by the Region to present the latest technological innovations at Expo 2020 Dubai. 

From Animals to People: the importance of virus surveillance

The issue of the sustainability of human health is fundamental to prevent future pandemics.

At the center of the forum "From Animals to People: the importance of virus surveillance", which took place today at the amphitheater of the Italian Pavilion, the One Health approach and the role of biotechnology in the development of new methods for virus detection.

The event was attended by: Mirco Carloni, vice president and councilor for productive activities of the Marche Region e Stefania Mariani, CEO of Diatheva srl.

“We are in Dubai to present the best of the Marche. Biotechnology is one of the excellences of our territory. Diatheva, a spin-off of the University of Urbino and a member of the SOL Group for 10 years, was born with the approach of chemical research and biotechnology applied to business ". He has declared Mirco Carloni.

Faced with the challenges for the future, "we need companies like Diatheva to deal with possible virus pandemics that are of animal origin but which can involve humans".

According to many studies, most of the coronaviruses that infect humans come from animals, including the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic. The leap of species (in English spillover) is a natural process by which an animal pathogen evolves and is transmitted to humans.

The experience of the health emergency caused by the Sar-CoV-2 virus has highlighted how important it is to be prepared for future pandemics by keeping a close eye on all viruses, including those that have no obvious effect on the human population. This is the case of the African Swine Fever (ASF), a highly contagious and often fatal viral infection affecting domestic and feral pigs.

To date, there is no scientific evidence that this virus is transmitted to humans, but it deserves attention to avoid any form of contact and contagion. 

Vice-president Carloni, in his speech, referred to the monitoring and surveillance by the Marche region in the spread of this disease. "We must enhance the companies that can collaborate with the public health and veterinary systems so that swine fever is monitored and contained, even with a vaccine capable of blocking its spread".

One Health approach for a sustainable health model

Most pandemics, such as the one from Covid-19, are caused by the leap of species from animal to human. "More than 60% of infections in humans are of animal origin and more than 75% of new diseases are derived from a species jump." Has explained Stefania Mariani.

Although not all pathogens make the leap of species, in recent years the phenomena of zoonosis are becoming more and more frequent, the Sars-CoV-2 virus is the latest and still ongoing.

What to do to avoid future pandemics?  

Human health is linked to that of animals and the environment therefore "it cannot be limited to establishing treatment paths only for humans because the virus continues to circulate and change", he explained during his speech Stefania Mariani.

It is therefore necessary to apply a multisciplinary approach, the One Health

“It is a method that connects man-animal-environment developed by World Health Organization (human health) from FAO (human and animal nutrition) e OIE the organization that deals with animal health. These three organizations must collaborate and work to implement a sustainable health model that will prevent future pandemics ”. 

One of the weapons of prevention is that of not letting our guard down in the face of viruses even for those that do not have evident effects on the human population such as that of African Swine Fever (ASF).

The ASF has long been known but attracted attention with its arrival in China in 2018 and 2020 in Europe. “The fact that this virus currently has no obvious repercussions on human health does not mean that it should not be taken into consideration. Biotechnology companies are analyzing this virus and its behavior to understand which technology is best suited to fight it ".  

Stefania Mariani talked about the efforts made by the biotechnology company in these two years to develop innovative diagnostics for the detection of Covid-19. A solid background to face any future pandemics. "The world of biotech with Covid-19 has developed new methods for the detection of the virus in the field of research".

The main features of the new diagnostic technologies, such as PCR tests, are "simplicity in their use, cost-benefit ratio, high sensitivity, specificity and performance".

Biotechnology companies are therefore aiming to develop new innovative methods to allow the full application of the One Health approach and counter any future pandemics. To implement them and make the human health system increasingly sustainable, collaboration at the global level, of individual nations and regions is required. “As for swine fever, but also other viruses - he concluded Mariani - the administrations must put in place a network before the virus makes the leap of species reaching the man and we will not be able to contain it ".