Sciensano provides support for public health policy through scientific research, expert opinions and divisional tasks. Through innovative research, analyses, monitoring activities and expert advice, it formulates recommendations and solutions in respect of priorities for a proactive health policy at the Belgian, European and international levels. Sciensano assesses the status of health and health indicators on the basis of scientific methods that it approves and/or improves within a certified quality framework. Sciensano develops advanced solutions for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of current and emerging diseases, as well as the identification and prevention of health risks, including those resulting from the animals and the environment in a one-health approach. The specific target groups of Sciensano are (1) policy makers at national and international levels (providing them with science-based expert advice), (2) research and governmental institutions (through collaborations and knowledge exchanges), (3) healthcare professionals (to monitor the population's health status and to provide them with expert advice) and (4) the general population (by conveying messages to improve the general health status). The institute hosts about 470 staff members, of which half are scientists.
Role of Sciensano in VAC2VAC
Sciensano brings into the VAC2VAC project the expertise of two services: the Biological Standardisation lab and the Medicines lab. These Official Medicines Control Laboratories (OMCL) are in charge of the quality control respectively of vaccines and blood-derived products and of medicines. Their roles perfectly match the evaluation of the consistency approach proposed by this 3R project. Indeed they are in first line for the regulatory changes that VAC2VAC will bring to the vaccine quality control (QC). These laboratories will develop and validate innovative techniques for this QC. For example, the toxin production by different bacteria strains will be characterised by mass spectrometry. This better control of toxin production will pave the way for a diminution of in vivo testing. Similarly the development of the antigen characterisation in non-desorbed vaccines by Luminex should allow to get rid of such in vivo QC. Sciensano will also participate to the validation of selected new methods. Finally, it will help the regulatory acceptance of these changes.
Alexandre Dobly (PhD) worked on rodent biology, virus epidemiology and prionology. He has a good expertise of ELISA and protein analysis. He now coordinates research in the OMCL in Sciensano that controls human vaccines from various manufacturers. Some of these quality controls imply in vivo testing.
Celine Vanhee (PhD) is active in the field of molecular biology and biochemistry. She engineered and purified different proteins. She also studied protein-protein interactions with a whole range of biochemical techniques, including mass spectrometry. In Sciensano she is responsible for the identification and characterisation of illegal polypeptide biopharmaceuticals.
Two other scientists will work on regulatory aspects.