Published: 2021-09-20 12:57 | Updated: 2021-09-20 19:40

KI doctoral student and nurse Martina Gustavsson helps displaced in Haiti

A man sits next to his tent at a shelter in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
A man sits next to his tent at a shelter in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters/TT.

Poverty and violence were already endemic even before an earthquake hit Haiti in mid-August. Thousands of people now live in informal camp sites in the capital Port-au-Prince. KI doctoral student and nurse Martina Gustavsson went there to work with Doctors Without Borders’ emergency response team.

“I want to be where I am needed the most,” says Martina Gustavsson at the Department of Global Public Health and the Centre for Research on Health Care in Disasters at Karolinska Institutet, where she is doing doctoral research on moral stress in disaster zones.

She arrived in Haiti on Aug. 25. Two days earlier she was asked by Doctors Without Borders if she could come and work either in the earthquake intervention in the south-west of Haiti or to provide help to people who fled their homes due to urban violence in Port-au-Prince.

Martina Gustavsson ended up in the Port-au-Prince project where she is now managing mobile clinics for internally displaced people. There are a total of eight camp sites in the capital, and Doctors Without Borders is present in three.

City affected by violence

The city is affected by violence and the situation has escalated after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïsei in July. Hundreds of families have fled clashes between violent non-state armed groups and state authorities during anti-gang operations. Doctors Without Borders is now working in tandem with this project while also doing emergency response after the earthquake in the south of the country.

Martina Gustavsson, forskningshandläggare vid institutionen för global folkhälsa
Martina Gustavsson, private photo.

“People are in a very vulnerable situation and they need all the help they can get,” Martina Gustavsson says.

This is Martina Gustavsson’s fifth mission with the organisation. She has previously worked in Congo-Kinshasa during the Ebola epidemic and in Ethiopia, to support in the COVID-19 intervention. Unlike her previous missions, which were more focused on specific health care interventions, the situation in Haiti is more complex.

“The displaced people here have nothing,” she says. “They’ve lost their homes. They have no or very little access to food and clean water and sanitation. Some children show signs of malnutrition. Many people suffer from disabilities from the previous earthquake in 2010 and have had difficulties to find employment. The poverty is widespread, and the infrastructure is poor, which leads to difficulties with transporting medical material and medicines due to destroyed roads and lack of security.”

The camps sites for internally displaced people host between 1,500 and 2,000 people and consist of makeshift shelters set up in old school buildings or sport arenas.

Mobile clinics

The mobile clinic that Doctors Without Borders run have two doctors and three nurses who provide basic health services like wound dressing, treating conditions like scabies, upper respiratory tract infection or diarrhoea caused by a lack of access to clean water and sanitation.

Martina Gustavsson’s responsibilities involve managing the activities in the mobile clinics, the staff and also ensuring that medical supply and medicines like antibiotics and painkillers are available.

“I’m trying to focus on the small things that I can do,” she says. “The needs are overwhelming, and it feels so unjust that the people here have so little, while others have so much. Yet it feels good to be here to support my Haitian colleagues the best I can in their efforts to help their people.”

Martina Gustavsson will return to Sweden at the end of September when someone else will have to take over her job.

“My time here is providing me with real-life insights on my research on moral stress among emergency response workers,” she says. “Here, I have personally been confronted by moral stress on how to use the limited resources and time most effectively. It gives me important perspectives to take back to my work at KI.”

Work with Doctors Without Borders

Are you interesting in working with Doctors Without Borders? The Centre for Research on Health Care in Disasters, together with Doctors Without Borders, offers the course “Health assistance in humanitarian crisis” for doctors and nurses who are interested in working with the organisation.

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Stockholm Public Health Lectures: From policy to evidence – catching up with the rapid implementation of COVID-19 response measures

20-10-2021 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Add to iCal
Online
Location
Online via Zoom
Lead

The Department of Global Public Health, in collaboration with the Center for Epidemiology and Community Medicine, invites to the upcoming lecture in the Stockholm Public Health Lectures series. The topic of the lecture is evidence on COVID-19 response measures.

Content
Collage of three images, first image a view of Stockholm, the second a crowd of people, the third a lecture hall.
Photo: Lasse Skog och iStock.

This lecture will address challenges associated with developing rapid guidelines in response to new global public health emergencies. The process of synthesizing evidence and developing guidance on international travel  – related COVID-19 control measures will be used as a case study from which we hope to learn some general lessons to help prepare policy makers, public health practitioners and researchers for coming health emergencies. 

Lectures

  • International travel-related COVID-19 control measures: exploring the process and challenges associated with rapidly producing evidence to inform policy (Jacob Burns, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany).
  • Processes and challenges when developing Emergency interim guidelines or Rapid advice guidelines on public health emergencies – examples from WHO´s COVID-19 response (Professor Lisa Askie, Science Division, World Health Organization, Switzerland).

Panel members: Jacob Burns, Lisa Askie and Anders Tegnell (State Epidemiologist of the Public Health Agency of Sweden).
Moderator: Professor Knut Lönnroth, Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet.

Registration

Register to attend the online lecture held on 20 October. The link to the Zoom Webinar will be sent to registered participants.

About Stockholm Public Health Lectures

The lecture series focuses on key topics in the area of public health, as well as issues that concern the planning and commissioning of healthcare. The lectures are held in English, free to attend and targeted to a broad audience. Stockholm Public Health Lectures is held twice per semester.

Contact

Published: 2021-09-17 11:07 | Updated: 2021-09-17 11:08

New center to promote sustainable health

Screen with zoom call with people from Makerere University.
The inauguration of Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health (CESH) den 16 september 2021. Photo: Ulf Sirborn

On Thursday 16 September the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health (CESH) was inaugurated. It's a digital competence center that has been established together with Makerere University in Uganda. The purpose of the center is to promote sustainable health and contribute to Agenda 2030 with the help of a long-term partnership.

Screen with zoom call with people from Makerere University.
Foto: Ulf Sirborn

Already in January this year, Karolinska Institutet and Makerere University signed a collaboration agreement on the establishment of the center, and yesterday the inauguration took place digitally. The collaboration between the universities has been going on for over 20 years.

"This new centre is inspired by the ambitions of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that aims to improve health and wellbeing for all, across geographical and generational boundaries and socioeconomic strata. COVID-19 has unveiled the sad consequences of health inequities. Most notably, poor countries lag far behind the rich in terms of access to vaccines and other opportunities to effectively and humanely counter the spread of infection," says President Ole Petter Ottersen.

During the inauguration the following topics were discussed:

  • the opportunities and challenges of sustainable health
  • why the center has been created and what the objectives are
  • how partnerships and universities can contribute to sustainable health

The inauguration was moderated by SVT's climate correspondent Erika Bjerström and Roy Mayega, senior lecturer at Makerere University (School of Public Health at the College of Health Sciences). Speakers from Karolinska Institutet were President Ole Petter Ottersen, Tobias Alfvén and Giulia Gaudenzi, both at the Department of Global Public Health.

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Climate and environmental change and children’s health – today and tomorrow

04-10-2021 9:00 am - 9:45 am Add to iCal
Other
Location
Nobel Prize Museum, Stortorget 2, Gamla Stan
Lead

Based on the latest report by the United Nations Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Line Gordon and Tobias Alfvén discuss the state of knowledge about climate and environmental change and what we know about how this will affect children today and tomorrow.

Content

Pre-registration is required: registration.gph@ki.se

In your email, indicate if you want to pre-order breakfast in your registration (SEK 115 for coffee / tea / juice / sandwich, which is paid on site)

If the event is fully booked (maximum 60 participants), we will put you on a reserve list and let us know if there will be a vacancy.

If you cannot participate on site you can follow the conversation on Zoom:

https://ki-se.zoom.us/j/64587701807?pwd=VG1FeXNPWWRJbUFWWGI4KytuQkl4Zz09
Passcode: Klimat

This breakfast conversation is being organised by Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm Resilience Centre.

A part of Nobel Calling Stockholm

Every year in October, the recipients of theNobel Prizes will be announced. In connection with this, the Nobel Prize Museum organizes inspirational events and instructive meetings in collaboration with, among others, Karolinska Institutet.

Published: 2021-09-15 00:30 | Updated: 2021-09-15 08:59

Tuberculosis programs should focus more on young people, researchers say

Illustration: Getty Images
Illustration: Getty Images

Young people are at risk of falling seriously unwell with tuberculosis and spreading the disease. Therefore, researchers at Karolinska Institutet, among others, have mapped key factors that affect the treatment outcomes in 10- to 24-year-olds with tuberculosis in Brazil, where the disease is increasing. To deal with the global tuberculosis epidemic, researchers say that greater focus is needed on this age group in tuberculosis programs. The study is published in The Lancet Global Health.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, tuberculosis (TB) was the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent globally. It’s a disease that affects those who are socially and economically vulnerable. An estimated 1.8 million young people develop tuberculosis each year, comprising 17 percent of all new cases globally.

Often neglected in TB programs

Louisa Chenciner
Louisa Chenciner. Photo: private

“Young people experience a substantial burden of tuberculosis, which can also have an impact on the disease spread – but this age group is often neglected in tuberculosis programs,” says lead author Louisa Chenciner, an internal medicine doctor working in the NHS (National Health Service), UK, who undertook this research as part of her master’s thesis at Karolinska Institutet. “They tend to have wider social networks, whether at work, school, with family or friends, and may therefore contribute to active transmission of TB in their community. To address the global TB epidemic, we need to better understand factors implicated in adverse treatment outcomes for young people.”

She was part of an international research group that has published a national cohort study of more than 40,000 young people (10–24 years old) with tuberculosis in Brazil, where the TB incidence rates are rising. The aim was to evaluate key health and social factors associated with adverse treatment outcomes and the role of social protection strategies for this age group.

Poverty, HIV, homelessness and drug use

Kristi Sidney Annerstedt
Kristi Sidney Annerstedt. Photo: private

“Almost one-fifth of the study population experienced adverse treatment outcomes – falling behind the World Health Organization (WHO) End TB Strategy,” says co-author Kristi Sidney Annerstedt, assistant professor at the WHO Collaborating Centre on Tuberculosis and Social Medicine at the Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet. “This indicates that young people need greater attention in national and international tuberculosis programs.”

A disproportionate number of young people with tuberculosis were detained in prisons or juvenile detention centres. More than half had lesser educational attainment than their peers. Race also affected treatment outcomes, and factors such as poverty, HIV, homelessness and drug use were associated with adverse outcomes.

There were disparities in the treatment support received by young people, with approximately half receiving adequate tuberculosis treatment supervision and one third undergoing complete contact tracing. The few young people who were enrolled in government cash transfers, including Programa Bolsa Família, were less likely to experience adverse outcomes.

The first nationally representative analysis

“To our knowledge this study is the first nationally representative analysis of the characteristics of young people with TB in Brazil. Previously, there was little evidence on the health and social factors that could be associated with unfavourable treatment outcomes in this sometimes underserved group,” says Tom Wingfield, a researcher at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK, and Karolinska Institutet. He is joint last author together with Julia M Pescarini at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and the Centre for Data and Knowledge Integration for Health (Cidacs) at the Gonçalo Moniz Institute of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil.

Tom Wingfield is supported by grants from the UK Wellcome Trust, UK Medical Research Council, UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, and Joint Global Health Trials. All other authors declare no competing interests.

Publication

“Social and health factors associated with unfavourable treatment outcome in adolescents and young adults with tuberculosis in Brazil: a national retrospective cohort study”. Chenciner, L., Sidney Annerstedt K., Pescarini J. and Wingfield T. Lancet Global Health, online 14 September 2021.

Event type
Conferences and symposiums
Health Equity and Pandemics – a Moonshot for Sustainable Health

06-10-2021 11:00 am - 1:30 pm Add to iCal
Online
Location
(CEST) Online from Campus Solna, Sweden. https://ki-se.zoom.us/j/6223475 8753
Globe
Photo: Getty Images
Lead

Are you interested in knowing more about what it will take to prevent pandemics and reach sustainable health for all, globally? What can we learn from the pandemic and climate experiences to propel humanity towards sustainable health for people as well as the planet?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Karolinska Institutet (KI) proudly invite to the first annual joint Rosling seminar.

Content
11:00
Welcome

Prof. Ole Petter Ottersen, President Karolinska Institutet

-
State of the SDG:s, Gapminder update

Mr. Ola Rosling, President Gapminder

-
Opening conversation

Overall theme: What can we learn from the pandemic and climate experiences to propel humanity towards sustainable health for people as well as planet?

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General WHO & Prof. Ole Petter Ottersen, led by Prof. Stefan Swartling Peterson.

-
Governing health innovation for the common good: a mission oriented approach

Prof. Mariana Mazzucato, University College London (UCL)

-
What Hans Taught Me about Global Public Health – and beating COVID-19

Ms. Melinda French Gates

-
Break
13:30
Conclusions and end of seminar

Prof. Ole Petter Ottersen, President Karolinska Institutet

    The seminar is moderated by Prof. Stefan Swartling Peterson, Karolinska Institutet and will be held on Zoom:

    The link to the seminar will be open from 10.50 am. Please join in time.

    To join the Webinar we recommend that you use the Zoom Client. If you are not able to join the Webinar using the Zoom Client you can join using one of the following web browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari.

    No registration to the seminar is needed.

    Moonshot – used to refer to a plan or aim to do something that seems almost impossible, or relating to such plans or aims (def Cambridge Dictionary)

    Published: 2021-07-19 00:05 | Updated: 2021-08-17 11:22

    Fatty liver more common in children of mothers with obesity

    Smiling girl on a beach.
    Photo: Getty Images.

    Children and young people whose mothers had a BMI greater than 30 during early pregnancy are at an increased risk of fatty liver disease. This is shown in a register-based study from Karolinska Institutet and Harvard University published in the journal Journal of Hepatology. As obesity rates increase also in women at a child-bearing age, more and more young people are at risk of developing fatty liver disease, the researchers say.

    Hannes Hagström
    Hannes Hagström. Photo: Private.

    “The findings are important because obesity is becoming more common at a young age, and fatty liver due to being overweight, is increasing in the world. If a tendency towards obesity and fatty liver disease can be "inherited", it can have consequences for public health,” says the study's lead author dr. Hannes Hagström, associate professor at the Department of Medicine, Huddinge, Karolinska Institutet.

    Through the so-called ESPRESSO study, where liver biopsies from all of Sweden's pathology departments were collected, researchers identified all children and young adults born after 1992 who, after tissue sampling, were diagnosed with non-alcohol-related fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a total of 165 individuals.

    The children had a median age of 12 years, just over 60 per cent were boys and nearly half had fatty liver with fibrosis. The control group consisted of children and young people without fatty liver matched by gender and age.

    Jonas F. Ludvigsson. Photo: Gustav Mårtensson.

    From the Swedish Medical Birth Register, the researchers then retrieved information about the mother's BMI (body mass index) during early pregnancy. Children of obese mothers (BMI over 30) were more than three times more likely to be diagnosed with fatty liver disease compared to children of mothers with normal BMI during pregnancy.

    The increase in risk was also seen after other important factors such as education, smoking, and the country of birth were considered.

    Advice for pregnant mothers

    Previous research in animals has shown that obesity in the mother can lead to changes in the fetus that are suggested to lead to a change in behaviour with a greater food intake, but such research in humans is lacking. The limitations of the new study are above all the lack of data on food intake, type of diet and physical activity, as such information is not available in Swedish registers.

    “We cannot say for sure whether the finding is a biological effect of maternal obesity on the growing fetus, or whether there are socio-economic explanations such as increased energy intake and an unhealthy lifestyle after birth. But in any case, expectant or future mothers with obesity should receive advice on how they can reduce the risk of the child developing fatty liver disease later in life,” says dr. Hannes Hagström.

    5-10 per cent in the USA

    The presence of fatty liver disease in children is not known in Sweden, but in the US it is estimated at 5–10 per cent. It is mainly in line with the incidence of obesity, which is also the main risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

    “Other research has shown that being overweight early in life increases the risk of fatty liver disease, but our study is the first to investigate the effect of obesity over generations. Swedish registers provide unique opportunities to follow up patients over a long period of time,” says the study's last author Jonas F. Ludvigsson, pediatrician and professor at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet.

    Fatty liver often causes no discomfort and many people have it without knowing it, but the disease can sometimes lead to inflammation of the liver and cirrhosis of the liver. The amount of fat accumulated in the liver can be reduced by weight loss and good habits such as physical activity.

    The research was funded by Region Stockholm, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the Gastrointestinal Specialized Program in Research Excellence (SPORE). Hannes Hagström's department has received independent research grants from Intercept, Gilead, Astra Zeneca, EchoSens, MSD and Pfizer. He has been an advisory board member of Gilead Sciences and Bristol Myers-Squibb for work outside the current study. Co-author Tracey G. Simon's department has received funding from Amgen and she has been a consultant to Aetion for work outside the study. Jonas F. Ludvigsson leads a study on behalf of the Swedish IBD Quality Register (SWIBREG) that received funding from Janssen.

    Publication

    “Maternal body mass index increases the risk and severity for offspring NAFLD: population-based case-control study”. Hannes Hagström, Tracey G Simon, Bjorn Roelstraete, Olof Stephansson, Jonas Söderling, Jonas F Ludvigsson. Journal of Hepatology, online 19 July 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2021.06.045.

    Published: 2021-07-14 10:29 | Updated: 2021-07-14 11:14

    Hunter-gatherer groups identify sick Europeans without difficulty

    The portraits are average images of the same participants who have been injected with placebo (left) or with a bacterial component from E. Coli (right). The pictures were taken two hours after injection.
    The portraits are average images of the same participants who have been injected with placebo (left) or with a bacterial component from E. Coli (right). Illustration: Artin Arshamian.

    The evolutionary ability to identify sick individuals is crucial to reducing contagion and thereby improving chances of survival. Although most animals have this ability, whether humans have the same behavioural immune system has long been a subject of discussion. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now proven that hunter-gatherer groups can, with great certainty, identify the sick from Western Europe. The study was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    Artin Arshamian. Photo: Bildmakarna.

    ‘We tested whether humans have the ability to identify sickness in individuals from another group with which they have had little or no experience, in the initial hours after their immune system reacts to an infection. We did this using state-of-art experimental methods to induce sickness reactions and combined this with field studies’, explains Artin Arshamian, researcher at the Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Clinical Neuroscience, and the study’s lead author.

    It has been known that mammals can identify sick individuals from within their own species and thereby avoid the risk of infection – an ability that has been important for survival as diseases have exerted strong evolutionary pressure on organisms.

    However, it had never been established whether humans also possess a similar behavioural immune system, and primarily with respect to groups from other cultures than the one to which they belong (so-called ‘out-groups’).

    A large international team of researchers from Karolinska Institutet, the University of York, National Autonomous University of Mexico, University College London, University of Melbourne, as well as Lund University and Stockholm University have tested whether the ability to recognise a sick individual is a universal human trait.

    A group of Swedish test subjects were injected with either a bacterial component or placebo. Two hours later, the faces of the participants were photographed. In the next step, other test subjects from Sweden and – with the help of a network of field linguists and anthropologists – five other groups across the world, attempted to identify which of these faces were healthy and which were sick.

    From rainforests to Mexico City

    The participants from the different cultures had varying degrees of exposure to people from Sweden, from constant exposure to no exposure whatsoever.

    Three of these groups belonged to small hunter-gatherer groups from Thailand, Malaysia and Mexico, who live in rainforests and the desert, with little or no access to television and the Internet. Along with these hunter-gatherer groups, individuals from two non-European cities were also tested. One group was from a medium-sized city in Thailand and another from Metropolitan Mexico City.

    All of the groups could recognise a sick person, but the result was partly surprising.

    ‘Although we hypothesized that all of the groups would be able to identify a sick person, we had also assumed that groups with greater exposure would have an advantage over groups that had little or no experience of sick Swedes. But this was not the case at all, and the group of Swedish test subjects were no better than all of the other groups, despite their lifelong exposure to both healthy and sick Swedish faces. For example, the Thais were even somewhat better at the task’, Artin Arshamian explained.

    ‘This might be an extra important ability, in light of the pandemic that has reminded us how quickly a deadly disease can spread throughout the world’, he added.

    Contradicts current theory

    Although it was previously known that westerners consider pale lips and complexions, as well as drooping corners of the mouth and eyelids as signs of illness, it is unknown whether all of the groups would utilise these clues.

    The result from the study also contradicts one current theory of how a group assesses an out-group in the face of a potential threat.

    ‘One theory about the development of a behaviour immune system posits that people will assign a higher contamination risk to out-group over in-group members so to reduce the risk for exposure to novel pathogens. This means that evolution has led to our choosing certainty over uncertainty to determine whether a stranger is healthy or sick, and thereby not giving benefit of the doubt and assuming the worst. We have demonstrated that this is not true and that hunter-gatherer groups with no experience of westerners can be entirely objective in their assessment’.

    Researchers are now working on parallel projects, one of which is to investigate whether the sick and healthy can be identified by the manner in which they move about.

    ‘In general, theories about psychological behaviours are nearly exclusively based on how westerners behave but we need to consider the whole range of human societies. Our study indicates that it is necessary to study other groups, including hunter-gatherer groups, to better understand human behaviour’, Artin Arshamian explains.

    The research was financed by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), Ammodo KNAW Award, the Swedish Research Council, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, and Stockholm Stress Centre. No conflicts of interest were reported.

    Publication

    “Human sickness detection is not dependent on cultural experience”, Artin Arshamian, Tina Sundelin, Ewelina Wnuk, Carolyn O'Meara, Niclas Burenhult, Gabriela Garrido Rodriguez, Mats Lekander, Mats J. Olsson, Julie Lasselin, John Axelsson, Asifa Majid. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 14 July 2021, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2021.0922.

     

    Published: 2021-06-23 11:00 | Updated: 2021-06-24 08:12

    Low-cost method for finding new coronavirus variants

    Illustration: Getty Images
    Illustration: Getty Images

    Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have developed a technology for cost-effective surveillance of the global spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. The technique is presented in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

    Since the onset of the pandemic, thousands of viral genomes have been sequenced to reconstruct the evolution and global spread of the coronavirus. This is important for the identification of particularly concerning variants that are more contagious, pathogenic, or resistant to the existing vaccines.

    For global surveillance of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, it is crucial to sequence and analyse many samples in a cost-effective way. Therefore, researchers in the Bienko-Crosetto laboratory at Karolinska Institutet and Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) in Sweden have developed a new method, named COVseq, that can be used for surveillance of the viral genome on a massive scale at a low cost.

    Adapted a previous method

    First, many copies of the viral genome are created using so-called multiplex PCR (polymerase chain reaction). The samples are then labelled and pooled together in the same sequencing library, using a previous method developed in the Bienko-Crosetto laboratory and now adapted for SARS-CoV-2 analysis.

    Lead authors Michele Simonetti, Ning Zhang and Luuk Harbers
    Lead authors Michele Simonetti, Ning Zhang and Luuk Harbers

    “By performing reactions in very small volumes and pooling together hundreds of samples into the same sequencing library, we can sequence potentially thousands of viral genomes per week at a cost of less than 15 dollars per sample,” says Ning Zhang, who previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet and is co-first author together with PhD students Michele Simonetti and Luuk Harbers active at the same department.

    Comparative analyses of 29 SARS-CoV-2 positive samples revealed that COVseq had a similar ability as the standard method to identify small changes in the genome. Analyses of 245 additional samples showed that COVseq also had a high ability to detect emergent coronavirus variants of potential concern. The key advantage of COVseq over existing methods is cost-effectiveness.

    Could be used by public health agencies

    Nicola Crosetto, senior researcher at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics
    Nicola Crosetto. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

    “Our inexpensive method could immediately be used for SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance by public health agencies and could also be easily adapted to other RNA viruses, such as influenza and dengue viruses,” says Nicola Crosetto, senior researcher at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, and last author of the paper.

    The study was done in collaboration with researchers at the 'Amedeo di Savoia' Hospital and the Candiolo Cancer Institute in Turin, Italy. The research was supported by grants from the SciLifeLab National COVID-19 Research Program, financed by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, and grants from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, as well as private donations from Chiesi Pharma AB and the Tetra Laval Group. The authors declare no competing interests.

    Publication

    “COVseq is a cost-effective workflow for mass-scale SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance”. Michele Simonetti, Ning Zhang, Luuk Harbers, Maria Grazia Milia, Silvia Brossa, Thi Thu Huong Nguyen, Francesco Cerutti, Enrico Berrino, Anna Sapino, Magda Bienko, Antonino Sottile, Valeria Ghisetti and Nicola Crosetto. Nature Communications, online 23 June 2021, doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24078-9.

    Event type
    Conferences and symposiums
    EuroScience Policy Forum 2021 in partnership with Stockholm trio

    29-06-2021 2:00 pm to
    30-06-2021 4:30 pm Add to iCal
    Online
    Lead

    The first edition of the EuroScience Policy Forum is to be held on 29–30 June. The programme includes interesting sessions on the theme of Sustainable Academia: Opening new pathways to knowledge and the future.

    Content

    Stockholm trio is co-arranger and host of the international session.

    Three local sessions are being held with the Swedish Research Council and Stockholm Science City: The implementation challenge revisited; Data access for research: current challenges and directions towards the future; and Responsible Internationalisation: Academic Collaboration Dilemma.

    From KI Professor Carl Johan Sundberg, Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson and President Ole Petter Ottersen all participates in the program. Participation in the EuroScience Policy Forum 2021 is free of charge.

    Read full programme and register here

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