The Catalan Government has approved the governing agreement that gives green light to the second phase of the Programa Orfeu to conduct a massive detection of SARS CoV-2 coronavirus. This second phase adds the specialized facilities of the University of Barcelona, Pompeu Fabra University, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Rovira i Virgili University and EURCAT (through the Center for Omic Sciences, COS).
This extension adds capacity for 139,000 tests to be carried out at the Catalan universities and which join the 170,000 from the first phase. A total of 309,000 tests are expected for six weeks. The Catalan Government approved a new investment of 1.2 million euros for this second phase.
The UB will run 52,000 tests in two different blocs: one in the Clinic Campus and the Bellvitge Campus, both from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. About 80 volunteers will take part in this project, mainly from TRS and AdSS, from the Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences, Biology, and Pharmacy and Food Sciences, and the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation. The project also counts on the participation of the staff from the Scientific and Technological Centers of the UB (CCiTUB) who will provide technical support, as well as members from OSSMA and Medical Services of the UB who will look after the safety of the volunteering staff. The profile of the volunteers ranges from professors to hired doctoral students.
The UB will receive anonymized samples from the Department of Health through a barcode. After the initial process they will conduct a ARN extraction with a robotized system and the PCR to determine the presence of viral particles in the sample. This process will be conducted in a laboratory set apart from the other facilities in order to avoid potential contaminations. A distinguished microbiologist assigned by the Department of Health will analyse the PCR results and once these are validated, the results will return to the Department of Health, to star its clinical process.
In order to support the Programa Orfeu, the UB bought in advance two state-of-the-art PCR thermal cyclers, within the budget of the equipment program of the Scientific and Technological Centers of the UB, and once the project finishes, these will be brought to the CCiTUB.
The Barcelona Science Park, one of the nodes in Programa Orfeu
Programa Orfeu aims to provide new diagnostic tests for COVID-19 to complement the capacity of the health system. In thefirst phase, two nodes of massive detection for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: one, in the Barcelona Science Park (PCB), coordinated by the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), the Institute for Biomedical Research (IRB Barcelona) and the Center for Genomic Analysis (CNAG-CRG), and the other, coordinated by the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in the laboratories of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB).