When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the umcs quickly took action. They bundled their scientific knowledge and stimulated research into the causes, treatment and long-term effects of the virus.

The umcs are known for their medical-scientific research at a global level. When the first alarming reports over COVID-19 arrived, the umcs responded immediately: they rapidly set up, organised and scaled up studies into the causes, treatment and long-term effects of the coronavirus. The search was not only for a potential vaccine, but also for the optimal treatment, and conducting epidemiological and psychosocial research. All of these studies together produced a wealth of data and new insights in the fight against COVID-19, which could be used in the Netherlands and around the world. Our experts advise various organisations, such as the Ministry of VWS, about e.g. the most promising therapies.

In this video we tell you more about the combined COVID research at the umcs.

Sturdy basis

Luckily, in the past few decades, much knowledge has already been obtained from fundamental research into viruses. Partly due to the knowledge, experience and infrastructure developed as a result, the umcs can pivot faster and contribute to the rapid development of a vaccine or other COVID treatments. They have also invested considerable sums in the past few years into the development of a national research infrastructure. It provides optimal access to the available knowledge, facilities, data and samples stored in biobanks. This now gives us a sturdy basis for COVID research.

All of this shows how important it is to invest continuously in knowledge development, even when there is no acute healthcare issue, like a pandemic. 

Look here at an infographic of the types of COVID research done at the umcs:

Faster to the patient

The umcs want to help COVID-19 patients (existing or potential) with the research results as quickly as possible. That is why they share the data between themselves and with other parties as fast as possible. Complete openness is the motto. And continuous attention is paid to the translation of the research results and new knowledge into clinical practice. The umcs work closely together with external parties as well as each other, like other healthcare institutions in the region, or internationally.  

The NFU set up a special committee to evaluate and prioritise COVID research of the umcs: the  CoCoN Committee.

International collaboration

The European Union recognises the quality of the scientific research done by the Dutch umcs. The umcs receive many European subsidies, including some especially for COVID research. This shows that the Netherlands occupies a special position internationally, partly due to collaboration with research institutes in Europe and outside it. And that is becoming clearer and more important now, in the fight against COVID.

The current corona crisis has made the importance of collaboration even more evident. The collaboration in the field of COVID research has produced unique data and knowledge.

Margriet Schneider, chair of the NFU

Examples of COVID studies being conducted now by the umcs can be found on the website Voor het leven van morgen [For the life of tomorrow].