The Biomedical Research Center at Qatar University has achieved rapid growth in a number of medical research published in prestigious international journals, reaching 275 this year. The Centre began in 2014 as one of the University's most important research centers.
During the last three years, the center recorded a significant increase in published research. The number increased from 134 in 2018 to 223 in 2019 to reach 275 this year.
The data indicate that the number of new and ongoing research projects reached 72 this year, including special research projects to counter Covid-19 virus, in cooperation with other research centers at the university and partners from inside and outside Qatar. This is compared to about 20 researches registered in 2017, 2018 and 43 projects in 2019.
These research projects come within the framework of the center's endeavor to provide practical and logistical measures to support multidisciplinary medical and vital research that is not available at the university's colleges level, as part of its commitment to improving the healthy life of individuals in the Qatar and to contribute to facing emerging health challenges.
Director of the Biomedical Research Center at Qatar University, Dr. Asma Al-Thani said, in an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), that the implemented research projects are a great achievement to the center, since its actual launch 6 years ago, stressing the need to move forward in facing health challenges and achieving the goals, objectives and strategies of research and innovation in the country.
The center, which was established according to international standards, is committed to improving the healthy life of individuals in Qatar by conducting research, training and providing services in the field of applied and theoretical biomedical research in several important areas.
There are researches concerned with early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases and metabolic disorders, which include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer. In addition to genomics and alternative medicine in cooperation with relevant research institutions such as Hamad Medical Corporation and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, The Sidra Center, Qatar Biomedical Research Institute and Qatar Anti-Doping Laboratory, she added.
One of the most important features of the center is establishing a laboratory that corresponds to the third level of laboratory biosafety levels by CERTEK International, which is licensed by its origin country the United States. It includes new and rare units such as a zebrafish research unit that is used as a model to study many genetic diseases in order to match it with the human genetic structure by 80 percent, such as the gene that causes enlarged heart disease. In addition to its reliance on advanced technologies similar to those applied in developed countries to study the genetic sequence, Dr. Asma Al-Thani said.
In this context, Dr. Asma Al-Thani said that the center seeks, in cooperation with local bodies inside and outside the university, to decode the genetic code of various endangered animal species within the framework of the recently established program for environmental genome research.
This project came as the State of Qatar was chosen to follow the path of sustainable development, making it the focus of the national development strategy and also for the expansion of the industrial sector in the country, she said, adding that the urban environment, in light of these data, will be required to preserve local species.
Regarding Covid-19 research, Dr. Asma Al-Thani said that the Biomedical Research Center is keen to harness all its efforts, expertise and capabilities to serve the public interest in light of any developments related to health, prevention and safety for individuals and society.
The Center has started many researches to study emerging viruses, including (COVID-19). Among them is a detailed study on cases infected with this virus, which is being done in collaboration with College of Medicine QU and Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). Another one is using digital simulation technology to test the ability of some inhibitors to stop COVID-19 binding to its cellular receptors conducted by the Centre.
The Centre also study the genetics evolution of seasonal and zoonotic coronavirus that infects humans. A research is being made in collaboration between The Biomedical Research Center QU and Hamad bin Khalifa University Qatar Foundation, in addition to the Study the evolution of the Coronavirus (MERS) that causes respiratory syndrome in humans and camels in the Middle East held by The Biomedical Research Center QU, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and (MoPH).
Among the studies that have been carried out and published in this regard, are a Comparative study on the presence and amount of anti- coronavirus antibodies against seasonal and zoonotic coronaviruses in humans in Qatar Published in February 2, 2019 by The Biomedical Research Center QU and MoPH and a Study on the complete structure of the coronavirus spike protein (viral thorn) its pre-bonding form with cellular receptors, in cooperation with external research centers.
A view of Qatar University campus