Foto Anders Wolff

DTU receives grants for corona-related research

Monday 30 Mar 20


Rasmus Larsen
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About the COVIDTESTS project

Professor Anders Wolff, PhD, DTU Bioengineering, Professor Dang Duong Bang, and a research team from DTU Food have received a grant of DKK 13 million from the government for the COVIDTESTS project, along with SSI, Amager and Hvidovre Hospitals, and TATAA Biocenter AB. The project team will produce new diagnostics tools in the form of corona tests that can be easily performed at emergency departments as well as outside hospitals without having to submit virus samples to a central analysis laboratory. Furthermore, the test results are ready within 30 minutes and will be cheaper than current tests. This allows more patients to be tested for COVID-19.

Researchers from DTU Bioengineering and DTU Food are already working on the EU project CORONADX, a more broad three-year project that also involves molecular epidemiological studies and socio-economic studies of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on society.
DTU has received grants from the government and several foundations, including DKK 13 million for research and development of a new diagnostics tool for testing patients for corona.

Together with a project team, DTU has just received a grant of DKK 13 million for the development of a quick test that in just 30 minutes can determine whether a patient is infected with coronavirus.

The project is one of nine selected by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science to receive funding from the DKK 50 million allocated by the government for corona-related research. The projects will help to quickly gain new knowledge and solutions in the fight against COVID-19.

According to a press release issued by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, acting quickly is key for the government. Consequently, they have prioritized research projects that can start immediately so potentially valuable research results can benefit citizens, healthcare services, and society as soon as possible.

“The research conducted at the University always aims for long-term benefits, and we believe the resulting knowledge of these projects will benefit people and society in the long run. But that strategy changes in times of crisis such as this COVID-19 pandemic, where it’s necessary to bring knowledge into play immediately. This applies to both supporting government authority decision-making and to knowledge that can help with urgent needs,” says Prorector Rasmus Larsen from DTU.

Grants for battling corona pandemic
The government grant is the latest in a series of grants received by DTU for research and development projects that will help fight the new viral disease. While the pace has increased for all the projects, none of them are going to deliver a solution tomorrow.

In one of the projects, the EU project CORONADX, researchers from DTU Bioengineering, DTU Food, and Statens Serum Institut are developing new fast devices for on-site diagnosis of coronavirus. They expect to have two new devices ready for emergency use in Denmark by October.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has granted DKK 3.9 million to DTU Health Tech for the research of artificial intelligence systems that can monitor COVID-19 patients in hospitals as well as in their own homes.

In addition, the Carlsberg Foundation has granted DKK 25 million to DTU Compute for a big data research project on the population’s response to the crisis and the measures that are being introduced.

Furthermore, DTU are providing the government authorities with resources and knowledge that can support data analyses and modelling of the disease spreading, and work is being done to find a way for DTU’s laboratories to support a more comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy.

“With great pride, I’ve seen how many DTU researchers very early on had thought about what could be done on short notice—and how we as an organization have come together to concentrate on these efforts in an unusual situation,” says Rasmus Larsen.

“In the long term, I believe the current crisis will certainly also give rise to a number of new research questions on what to do when the next pandemic hits us.”