UAlg researcher wins "Robalo Cordeiro SPP Award"

Ana Grenha, professor and researcher at the University of Algarve, won (ex-aequo) the Robalo Cordeiro SPP / AstraZeneca / Novartis 2020 Prize, awarded annually by the Portuguese Society of Pulmonology. The researcher and her team presented the project "Immunisation by inhalation - A strategy for respiratory diseases".

The award-winning project proposes an alternative to conventional vaccinations, aiming to protect against respiratory infections. “In these infections, lungs is essentially affected, so it makes sense to try to trigger a strong immune response local to the affected organ, instead of having a vaccination through an injectable, which will reach you with less intensity”, he says the researcher.  "The idea is to make lung protections prevail."

Regarding the methodology used, Ana Grenha explains: “we propose that the vaccine be administered via an inhalation, as is done, for example, with the administration of antiasthmatic drugs, using an inhaler device”. The researcher adds that "the vaccine will be in the form of microparticles, which are dry powders that will be inhaled by individuals".

The proposed project and the products that will subsequently be developed have the ability to impact the quality of life of the population, because they will potentially improve the ability to respond to respiratory infections, that is, they will provide greater protection to individuals. The results to be obtained are highly translational (application of the results of basic research to clinical research). Ana Grenha and her team believe that these aspects were decisive in this project being awarded the prize.

The Robalo Cordeiro Prize is awarded annually and has a monetary value of 10 thousand euros. It constitutes a partnership between Novartis, which sponsors it, and the Portuguese Society of Pulmonology (SPP), which gives it its scientific endorsement, contributing to rewarding a new generation of scientists dedicated to research in the respiratory field.