Published: 23-03-2020 16:21 | Updated: 24-03-2020 08:47

Collaboration increases opportunities for COVID-19 testing

Through cooperation with a Chinese supplier, financial support from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and coordination with the healthcare sector, Karolinska Institutet (KI) is taking concrete steps to strengthen healthcare capacity in virus diagnostics.

Professor Lars Engstrand in the podcast Medicinvetarna.

Karolinska Institutet's capabilities are now being coordinated with the healthcare sector’s resources for COVID-19 diagnostics. The coordination is taking place through a collaboration with China and the Swedish national infrastructure Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab). Furthermore, the Wallenberg Foundation has announced that it is immediately allocating SEK 50 million to support corona virus testing, both within clinical laboratories and research. These efforts will increase understanding of how the virus is transmitted and how quickly it mutates.

This initiative has been made possible through an international collaboration with the BGI/MGI research institute in Shenzhen in southern China where automatic specimen handling and sequencing instruments for large-scale DNA analysis of the corona virus have been developed.

“This is an important step in increasing capacity and ensuring quick and safe testing. In addition to our own staff, numerous individuals with relevant laboratory experience have volunteered to make this happen,” says Lars Engstrand, Professor of Infectious Diseases and director of KI's and SciLifeLab’s Center for Translational Microbiome Research (CTMR).

“All support and all initiatives are important right now, both those that address more immediate issues and those that both now and in the future increase our understanding of the new corona virus. We have now secured the capacity to carry out a large number of analyses,” says Lars Engstrand.