4 June 2020

Par webmestrecrbm


Rimouski, June 4th 2020 – Humanity is currently facing an unprecedented crisis that makes us aware of the extent to which viruses constitute a serious danger to human health and survival. Despite the marked development of antiviral drugs in recent decades, patients with viral infections, such as COVID-19, are severely affected by conventional treatments failure. This is mainly due to the appearance and reappearance of viruses that have acquired new genetic mutations that make them more resistant, more virulent and more deadly than their predecessors.

The question that must be asked now: “What if the remedy already existed in the sea?”

In fact, the marine environment forms a gigantic ecosystem with approximately 71% of the earth’s surface. According to the scientific director of the CRBM Mr. Amine Badri « this environment represents an enormous reservoir of microbial biodiversity potentially exploitable in the health and well-being sector. » In fact, a liter of seawater can contain up to 100 billion microorganisms (virus, prokaryotes, protists and metazoans) not counting those found in marine sediments and those living in symbiosis whit other organisms like sea sponges[1]. Thus, every drop of sea water in the ocean could well constitute a medicine cabinet full of future and hope[2]

Each year, 150 to 200 new compounds, including alkaloids, sesquiterpenes, polyketides, and polysaccharides are identified from marine organisms and microorganisms. In the last years, many scientific studies have demonstrated the enormous potential of marine bacteria, marine fungi and algae as a promising source for developing new antiviral against various important viruses, including herpes simplex viruses, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and influenza viruses[3],[4].

“It is therefore more urgent than ever to increase research in the marine biotechnology sector in order to discover new molecules that will allow humanity to face this kind of danger that awaits us all”. And it is for this reason that the CRBM is launching a new research project linked to the marine molecules potential “, concluded Mr. Badri. 

This research program includes two components. The first part aims the development of biomolecular tools necessary for SRAS-CoV-2 detection in all environments. Regarding the second part, it covers the marine molecules virucidal potential against different strains of coronavirus.

It is important to note that all of these research activities will be performed at the CRBM, in an accredited environment, under a biosafety licence NC2 and good manufacturing practices (GMP) governed by pharmaceutical license issued by Health Canada. As Ms. Jennifer Morissette, Director of Regulatory, Compliance and Analytical Services points out, “the activities will be carried out by a team with rich scientific expertise and in-depth knowledge of standard procedures applications.  This will lead to the recognition of the scientific results linked to the new active molecules, which will be subject to the procedures approval. “

The first phase activities of this applied research program started in May 2020, and will continue until 2021.



The CRBM’s mission is to support and contribute to the growth of the marine biotechnology sector through scientific research and development and industrial transfer activities, particularly for the life sciences sectors.

The CRBM is financially supported by Canada Economic Development (CED), by the Quebec Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI) and by the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ).

Guy Viel

CRBM Chief Executive Officer

Mail : [email protected]

Phone : 418 723 2726, poste 105

[1] Le projet Oceanomics.

[2] Raphaël Lami, 2013. Voyage au centre d’une goutte d’eau. Espèces N°10.

[3] Moghadamtousi S.Z. et al. (2015). Potential Antiviral Agents from Marine Fungi: An Overview.  Marine Drugs, 13, 4520-4538.

[4]  Ahmadi A. et al, (2015). Antiviral Potential of Algae Polysaccharides Isolated from Marine Sources: A Review. BioMed Research International.

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