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Covid-19 efforts in the region – July and August update

Academy, industry, health care work in close collaboration with a focus on the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease Covid-19. Here we gather some examples from the region.

Academic research and collaborations on Covid-19 and the new corona virus:
Karolinska Institutet Covid-19 Resource Hub >>
KTH research and initiatives on the novel corona virus and Covid-19 >>
SciLifeLab efforts related to the Covid-19 pandemic and SciLifeLab Covid-19 action plan >>
Stockholm University news related to the corona virus >>

WHO draft landscape of Covid-19 vaccine candidates (August 25)
These landscape documents have been prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) for information purposes of the novel coronavirus. As of August 25, 31 candidate vaccines are in clinical evaluation. Read more >>

Clinical studies on Covid-19
The Swedish Research Council has been commissioned to follow up and publish information on ongoing Covid-19 studies in Sweden. The information is continuously developed and updated. Clinical studies require an approved ethics review application. The Swedish Research Council lists applications related to Covid-19 that have been approved. Read more >>

First phase of the Danderyd Hospital’s Covid-19 study complete
Almost 25 percent of the staff at Danderyd Hospital who had been in contact with COVID-19 patients had developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 early this summer. Loss of odor seemed to be the most common symptom amongst those who tested positive. Read more>>

KI-research shows: Immunity to Covid-19 is probably higher than tests have shown
New research from Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital shows that many people with mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 demonstrate so-called T-cell-mediated immunity to the new coronavirus, even if they have not tested positively for antibodies. According to the researchers, this means that public immunity is probably higher than antibody tests suggest. The article is freely available on the bioRxiv server and has been submitted for publication in a scientific journal. Read more >>

National funding to strengthen the collaborative environment of SciLifeLab’s Covid-19 research program
At the end of May, SciLifeLab launched a national Covid-19 program consisting of 67 projects within nine research areas, studying Covid-19 at the molecular, cellular, patient, population and environmental level. In order to create a strong research environment, where the projects can utilize SciLifeLab’s cutting-edge technologies, SciLifeLab launched a call for research area needs in mid-June. Now, a number of research areas are supported with national SciLifeLab funding, to remove bottlenecks and get the projects up-and-running at full speed.
The following research areas and needs will now be supported with national SciLifeLab funding:

  • Biobanks for Covid-19 research (support for coordination and biobanking)
  • High-throughput and high-content serology (support for data analysis and logistics)
  • Host cell systems biology and targets (support for BSL3 facility to enable access and services for Covid-19 research)
  • Drug discovery and repurposing of drugs (support for database build up and compound center support)
  • Environmental virus profiling (support for infrastructure required to rapidly create a national support function for biobanking of environmental samples for virus monitoring (initially waste water))
  • Data Centre (support for data management for the SciLifeLab Covid-19 program)

The funding will amount to a total of 4,4 MSEK.
Read more >>

New knowledge about enzymes with important role for SARS-CoV-2 infection (31 July 2020)
Researchers at Uppsala University have conducted a survey of the enzyme ACE2 in the entire human body, which has been suggested to play an important role in the entry of the SARS-CoV-2 virus into host cells and the development of Covid-19 disease. In contrast to previous research, the study shows that no or only very low levels of ACE2 protein are found in normal airways. The results are described in an article in Molecular Systems Biology.
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Kancera initiates tests with the first Swedish medicine against Covid-19: The first Swedish medicine against Covid-19 may be underway. A so-called phase 2 study will soon begin with patients from St. Göran's Hospital.
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An agreement between Astra Zeneca and the EU on covid-19 vaccine is in place: The first agreement on a vaccine against covid-19 is in place, the EU Commission announces in a press release.
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Sweden entered into a joint EU agreement on Covid-19 vaccine on August 20: The government has decided that Sweden will participate in the agreement that the EU Commission intends to enter into to buy Covid-19 vaccine from Swedish-British AstraZeneca. The purchase is valid provided that the vaccine is approved for use.
Read more >>