COVID-19

Humanity is facing a pandemic that affects every single person around the world. It is therefore essential that we work together on a global response to COVID-19. In close collaboration with partners, Swiss TPH is committed to actively engaging in the public health response to the pandemic in Switzerland and abroad, while continuing with our main activities in research, service and education.

Our work on COVID-19 ranges from the development of point-of-care diagnostics and designing and implementing clinical trials, to mathematical modelling to identify and reduce transmission. We are also working closely with governments to provide guidance and evidence-based advisory services.

We would like to thank all of our partners for your terrific collaboration, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and solidarity. Together, we will come out of this crisis stronger and better prepared to make strides towards improving global health.

Swiss TPH plays a unique role in the response to COVID-19. We collaborate with multiple institutions and organisations and share our knowledge of disease transmission, virology, intervention strategies and more. These collaborations have widespread benefits for individuals in both Switzerland and abroad.

Research Coalitions

Swiss TPH experts are contributing to the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force, a national scientific advisory board set up specifically for the COVID-19 pandemic, and support Corona-Immunitas, a programme powered by the Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), which tests the proportion of people with antibodies to the corona virus in Switzerland.

On an international level, Swiss TPH joined the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition as one of 70 institutions to respond to COVID-19 in resource-poor setting.

Antibody Testing

Swiss TPH is carrying out the COVCO-Basel study, a long-term study on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft. The study contains both a digital survey that looks at the effects of COVID-19 on individual’s quality of life, such as mental health repercussions, as well as antibody testing (a seroprevalence study).

In collaboration with the canton of Basel-Landschaft and ETH Zurich, a validation study on COVID-19 antibody tests was carried out at the Diagnostic Centre of Swiss TPH in the second quarter of 2020.

New Diagnostic Tools and Prophylactic Treatments

In the MistraL project artificial intelligence, chest X-ray and antigen-based diagnostic tests will be combined to enable and improve diagnosis of COVID-19 patients in low-income settings.

The aim of the DAVINCI project is to develop a simple, low-cost device that can detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, using saliva. The project seeks to identify individuals who have been previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and to provide novel insights into the variations in the immune response to COVID-19. Both projects are financed by the Botnar Research Centre for Child Health Care (BRCCH).

Together with the University of Geneva, Swiss TPH is conducting an open-label cluster randomised trial, the COPEP trial, to assess the efficacy, safety and acceptability of same-day LPV/r-based post-exposure prophylaxis compared to standard of care for asymptomatic individuals exposed to individuals diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2.

Mathematical Modelling

The MODCOVID project, financed by BRCCH, seeks to harness mathematical modelling and machine learning approaches to guide and optimize clinical and public health strategies in the emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Epidemic models are essential tools to coordinate all aspects of the response to pandemics. Models can inform policy makers on strategies for vaccinations and testing, and trigger mitigation measure such as the ‘lockdowns’. Swiss TPH experts propose to use and further develop a well-established technology to simulate epidemics with considerably increased temporal and spatial resolution. The Agent-based Tracking of Disease Spread project is financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation and a collaboration with the ETH Zurich, the University of Applied Sciences in Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) and other partners.

Understanding Public Perception of the Coronavirus

PubliCo is an experimental online platform for COVID-19 related public perception financed by the Swiss National and Science Foundation SNSF. PubliCo is developing a tool that helps tackle the “infodemic” manifested in the COVID-19 context. With this tool, the aim is to foster effective and tailored risk and crisis communication for combating misinformation, stigma, and fear. The project is led by the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine (IBME) at the University of Zurich. Swiss TPH is responsible for the citizen science component where people report on their COVID-19-related experiences.

Governing Systemic Crises in the 21st Century

In collaboration with the Global Studies Institute of the University of Geneva, Swiss TPH researchers aim to assess the initial impact of and responses to the current COVID-19 systemic crisis from an interdisciplinary perspective combining insights from public health, economics and law. In particular, the project seeks to understand how different European countries cope, adapt and transform in the face of systemic disruptions such as those caused by the rapid dissemination of COVID-19 across Europe.

In the EU-funded CORESMA project, Swiss TPH is leading the implementation research to analyse effects of surveillance and containment measures through SORMAS and to tailor effective and efficient control measures to health systems realities in Nepal and Côte d'Ivoire. Combining e-health, serolomics, modelling, artificial intelligence and implementation research, CORESMA aims to close existing gaps between clinical, epidemiological and immunological information in order to better respond to the pandemic.

In many of our existing projects, we have increased the focus of our activities towards the prevention and control of COVID-19.

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Projects

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is supporting the re-allocation of funds within existing projects that are implemented by Swiss TPH in Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe to assist in the public health response to the COVID-19 crisis. Activities range from the creation of a national call centre, procurement, distribution and training on the use of personal protective equipment, to setting up a diagnostics laboratory, training of PHC workers on remote consultations and communications work to dispel fake news. Local Public Authorities and the social sector are engaged to ensure assistance for the most vulnerable, and numerous interventions were adapted to the requirements of physical distancing. The project countries include Tanzania, Moldova, Kosovo, Albania, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Ethiopia and Chad in which Swiss TPH has been working for many years and maintains long-term partnerships.

In addition, a new project in Rwanda was launched by SDC and implemented by Swiss TPH to improve the capacity of community health workers to inhibit, detect and respond to COVID-19.

Rapid Assessment of World Bank COVID-19 Projects

The World Bank supports around 100 country responses to COVID-19 through loans and grants totalling over USD 6 billion. Funding is based on the Multi-phase Programmatic Approach (MPA) model or through restructuring existing projects. Swiss TPH was mandated to assess how far the COVID-19 projects under the MPA framework have reached their overarching objective to contribute to prevention, detection and response to COVID-19, and strengthen national health systems.

Support to the Global Fund

The Global Fund is providing an immediate funding of USD 500 million to help countries fight COVID-19. As part of its 14 mandates from the Local Fund Agent, Swiss TPH is currently reviewing revised detailed budgets and protocols, relevance and effectiveness of savings identified by countries, as well as detailing assumptions of new COVID-19 related activities, best value for money investments, and conducting short local surveys on quality and price of protection equipment.

11.11.2020

Antibody Testing Taken on the Road

The COVCO-Basel study is assessing the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the population of the cantons Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft. A bus now brings the study team closer to the... More...

02.07.2020

Study Launched on Antibody Prevalence and Impact of Coronavirus in Basel

A long-term study on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic is being carried out in the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft. The study contains both a digital survey that... More...

27.05.2020

Swiss TPH Supports COVID-19 Efforts through Swiss Government Funding

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is supporting the re-allocation of funds within existing projects that are implemented by Swiss TPH in Africa, Central Asia... More...

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Information on the current situation, federal government measures, recommendations for workplace and for travellers, and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH.