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Closing the coronavirus fund: Final DKK 10 million goes to eight projects

The Lundbeck Foundation has now allocated the last DKK 10 million of its coronavirus fund.

In March, the Lundbeck Foundation earmarked DKK 30 million of funding for researchers seeking solutions for both diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.

Danish universities’ and hospitals’ interest in our coronavirus programme has been overwhelming, and last week the Lundbeck Foundation awarded research funding totalling DKK 20 million to ten projects.

We have now identified the last recipients. A total of eight projects will receive the remaining DKK 10,451,829.
With this final allocation of funds, the total coronavirus grant of DKK 30 million has now been distributed.

The eight projects receiving funding in this final round include research to:

• Track infection in hospital staff and in the population
• Map the spread of COVID-19 on the Faroe Islands
• Prevent loss of muscle mass in COVID-19 patients in intensive care
• Study the results of 300 post-mortem examinations from all regions of Denmark to map and understand the damage the coronavirus can cause

The eight projects receiving funding

Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in the population: Study of the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2
How quickly does the Danish population develop immunity to coronavirus, and at which stage of the pandemic is Denmark? This will be investigated in a project headed by Professor Karen Angeliki Krogfelt, Roskilde University. Researchers will look for antibodies to COVID-19 in blood samples sent to the Danish National Biobank from all types of patient admitted during the epidemic to Danish hospitals for disorders other than COVID-19. Researchers from Statens Serum Institute (SSI) and North Zealand Hospital will also participate in the study. The Lundbeck Foundation is supporting this project with a total grant of DKK 2,000,000.

COVID-19: Study of infection and immunisation of hospital staff
How many hospital staff are infected with COVID-19? How many have symptoms? How many have antibodies because they have already been infected – and does this make them immune to new infection? This will be investigated in a project headed by Clinical Professor Kasper Iversen, Herlev Hospital. 15,000 hospital staff will be examined three times during the course of this project, which is receiving Lundbeck Foundation funding to the tune of DKK 2,000,000.

Use of C-reactive protein levels in patients with COVID-19
Can a particular method of protein analysis be used to predict the risk of developing a serious case of COVID-19 – and the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – in infected individuals? This will be elucidated in a study headed by Professor Henning Bliddal, Bispebjerg Hospital. The Lundbeck Foundation has given a grant of DKK 372,750 for this study.

Tracking the true spread of COVID-19 on the Faroe Islands: Unreported COVID-19 figures on the Faroes
The Faroe Islands have chosen a different screening strategy from the one selected by Denmark, and they have one of the best testing rates in the world. But how many of the Faroese population are actually infected with COVID-19, and what are the unreported figures? This is being investigated by testing at least 1,000 randomly selected Faroese people, equivalent to 2% of the population. The study is headed by Professor Pal Weihe, Faroese Health Authority. The Lundbeck Foundation is supporting this project with a grant of DKK 800,000.

Method for counteracting loss of muscle in COVID-19 patients
Can electrical muscle stimulation with special ‘pads’ be used to reduce the extensive loss of muscle mass that is unavoidable in COVID-19 patients who spend weeks in intensive care? And can it be used to aid the convalescence of these – usually elderly – patients? This is the aim of a study headed by Professor Charlotte Suetta, Bispebjerg Hospital. The Lundbeck Foundation is supporting this project with a grant of DKK 1,000,000.

Duration of shedding of infectious SARS-CoV-2 and correlation to clinical and serological response
Most of the methods for studying SARS-CoV-2 detect the presence of the virus’ DNA but not whether there are any infectious virus particles. How long does a COVID-19 patient shed virus particles once he or she no longer has symptoms? This will be investigated in a project headed by Kristina Franck, MD, PhD, at Statens Serum Institut (SSI). The Lundbeck Foundation is supporting this project with a grant of DKK 1,000,000.

In-depth study of patients who died of COVID-19
Can post-mortem examinations give a better understanding of the damage caused by COVID-19? And can they help us draw up strategies for protecting particularly vulnerable groups of people in future pandemics? This will be investigated by a nationwide project headed by Professor Niels Lynnerup from the University of Copenhagen and the Institute of Forensic Medicine. Researchers expect to analyse the results of 300 post-mortems over a three-month period. Some of these will not initially be considered COVID-19-related. The Lundbeck Foundation is supporting this project with a grant of DKK 2,500,000.

Presence and mortality rate in COVID-19 patients with acute neurological symptoms
Might there be a correlation between acute neurological symptoms and COVID-19 infection? And could the infection cause damage to the brain, spinal cord and nerves? This will be investigated in a project headed by professor of neurology Grethe Andersen, Aarhus University Hospital. The Lundbeck Foundation is supporting this project with a grant of DKK 779,079.

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