Raise the flag! The innovative ideas of two researchers of Amsterdam UMC won prizes at the Amsterdam Science & Innovation Awards on November 9. Hergen Spits received an Impact Award for his drug against the RS virus that causes major crowding in pediatric ICUs in the winter. Tom Brouwer received a Science & Innovation Award for a digital scale that tracks how much a patient pees.

This is the fifteenth time that the Amsterdam Science & Innovation Awards have been presented. Each year they go to scientists with innovative ideas for improving society.

Drug against the RS virus

With his successful research into an effective medicine against the RS virus, Hergen Spits won one of the three Impact Awards this year. Spits performs research on B-cells, the cells that make antibodies in the human body. He does so by examining people  who have survived a viral infection or cancer.

"The immune system of healthy people can help the immune system of vulnerable people. For example, research into the RS virus, which mainly affects children, is already very advanced, "Spits says. "In healthy adults who were not affected by the RS virus, we isolated B cells, and with that it was possible to make antibodies that neutralize the virus in vulnerable children." Meanwhile, the RS V antibody has successfully passed the required clinical trials, and the drug is likely to become available for young children within two years. "The great thing is that this B-cell technology is also applicable to other viral infections, such as influenza, and even cancer," Spits concludes.

More information

The award ceremony is an initiative of Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA), the Knowledge Transfer Office of the UvA, VU, HvA and Amsterdam UMC.

In total, three Impact Awards and three Science & Innovation Awards were presented. More information about the winners and their research can be found here.

Photo: Bastiaan Aalbersberg