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24/09/2020 14h48

BRF DONATIONS SUPPORT THREE UNIVATES STUDIES AGAINST COVID-19

The University in Lajeado seeks the development of faster examination, medication and alternative for disinfection

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In July, BRF, one of the largest food companies in the world, donated BRL 100,000 for the development of studies and projects related to Covid-19 and public health to the Vale do Taquari Scientific and Technological Park (Tecnovates) of Univates, in Lajeado (RS). Two months later, the investment is reflected in the advancement of three projects that may result in benefits for society: one seeks a faster and more affordable test to detect the virus, another the development of medicines and the third an alternative for disinfection. The company's donation is part of the BRL 7 million allocated to research funds from the main Brazilian study centers aimed at protocols for treatment, diagnosis and development of drugs to combat the new Coronavirus. 

 “The donation made by BRF made it possible to make available to society a quantity of information and tests that increased the ability to understand the behavior of the virus and its dissemination,” summarizes the director of Health Services at Univates, Jairo Hoerlle.

 Learn about the three projects that received BRF's resources:

 For a faster and cheaper diagnosis

 So far, BRF is the only source of external funding received by a project that seeks a faster and cheaper test to detect the virus through saliva, rather than the secretion collected from the nose and throat used by RT-PCR. With the project, under the title Detection of the Corona Virus-2 Respiratory Syndrome virus by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Professor Daiane Heidrich, PhD in Medicine, seeks an alternative technology that can be used by the population of the Taquari Valley, through the support and interest of municipal health networks, and even outside the region.

 “In a single saliva application of an individual in the FT-IR equipment, results related to the detection of SARS-CoV-2 will be obtained in a few minutes of spectral evaluation. In addition to greater speed, the use of the FT-IR tool generates lower cost and lower environmental impact with the same robustness, sensitivity and specificity as the RT-PCR,” explains Daiane.

  For new drugs

Researchers Marcia Inês Goettert, João Antonio Pêgas Henriques and Luis Fernando Saraiva Macedo Timmers will work on the functional annotation of the genomes of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, isolated in different regions of Brazil, through bioinformatics analyses in order to analyze specific mutations in the genome of the virus. Based on the mutations found, the researchers will still seek new drug possibilities, in partnership with international universities. The resources donated by BRF are intended to acquire imported material for part of the development of the project.

Ozone for disinfection and sanitizing

The Director of Innovation and Sustainability of Univates, Professor Simone Stülp, PhD in Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, coordinates a project, together with a startup installed at Tecnovates, Alvap, which investigates the adoption of ozone for disinfection and sanitization. Alvap's ozone management is used for fruit cleaning, water purification, utilized in industry and agriculture.

Professor Simone Stülp points out that BRF's investment for Tecnovates is an approximation with BRF's Innovation Hub, connected with the priority areas of the Technology Park, and welcome in an area of extreme need at this time of sanitary emergency.

BrfHub is BRF's open innovation arm, which seeks to connect the company daily with new studies and technologies. “We believe in the power of national science and support innovative, science-based initiatives that help the whole of society, with the development of research to discover effective treatment protocols and new drugs to combat Covid-19,” says Stephanie Blum, BRF's Innovation Manager.

The director of Health Services at Univates, Jairo Hoerlle, highlights the interaction between BRF and the university:

“Partnerships like this allow society to improve, solutions to be proposed and well-coordinated projects to enable best practices and forms of treatment. Univates' partnership with BRF, in addition to this social gain at the time of the pandemic, is serving as the basis for a closer relationship between these two important organizations for Lajeado and Vale do Taquari. Other possibilities of mutual support and involvement may always arise with a view to the benefit of broad layers of society.”

The donation to Univates is part of the BRL 50 million announced in April by BRF in food distribution, medical supplies and support for research and social development funds, to contribute to efforts to combat the effects of the pandemic. The initiative reaches hospitals, social assistance organizations and health professionals in the states and municipalities in which the company operates. Among those included, in addition to Univates, are Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), in Rio de Janeiro, Instituto Butantan and Hospital das Clínicas, in São Paulo. 

 About BRF

The world's largest global poultry exporter, BRF has iconic brands such as Sadia, Perdigão and Qualy.  Its purpose is to offer quality food that is increasingly tasty and practical, to people all over the world, through the sustainable management of a living, long and complex chain, which provides a better life for everyone, from the countryside to the table Based on fundamental commitments to safety, quality and integrity, the Company bases its strategy on a long-term vision and aims to generate value for the communities in which it operates, its employees and members, shareholders and society.