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Researchers test if facemasks protect against COVID-19

Friday 24 Apr 20

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Kerstin Skovgaard
Senior Researcher
DTU Bioengineering
+45 35 88 63 62

Test of face mask effect

The Salling Funds have donated DKK 5 million DKK to researchers from four hospitals in the Capital Region of Denmark. The aim of the donation is to investigate if a facemask can protect against coronavirus infections. The participants in the research study are to be recruited among employees and customers in Føtex, Bilka and Netto countrywide.

Senior researcher Kerstin Skovgaard (Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark) and senior researcher Ramona Trebbien (Virus & Microbiological Special Diagnostics / Virus Monitoring and Research, Statens Serum Institut) are responsible for the development and establishment of the diagnostics unit, which will be responsible for the overall project and for the analysis of the samples for SARS-CoV-2, four other less pathogenic types of coronavirus as well as influenza A and B virus.

Read more about the study.

Registration to participate in the research project.

DTU and Statens Serum Institut establish a diagnostics unit to analyze if facemasks protects against virus infections.

Researchers from The Capital Region of Denmark, DTU and Statens Serum Institut have entered into a collaboration with the Salling Fundations, which has donated five million Danish Kroner to investigate whether the use of facemasks prevents infection with coronavirus. 3.200 participants have already signed up for the project, and have been given facemasks and other equipment. Interested parties can register as subjects until the end of April.

At DTU, senior scientist Kerstin Skovgaard will be helping to establish the diagnostics unit, which will be responsible for analyzing the samples for SARS-CoV-2 (the current coronavirus), four other less pathogenic types of coronavirus as well as influenza A and B virus.

In total, 6,000 participants must sign up for the draw, and they are initially recruited from Salling Group's employees. If the researchers cannot recruit all 6.000 along that route, they will look for participants among the customers.

Facemask for 30 days

The research subjects must not previously have been infected with coronavirus, and they must not previously have used a facemask on or off work. Half of the subjects have to wear a facemask for 30 days as soon as they leave their home. The other half of the subjects should live as they would do normally and follow the authorities' recommendations during the corona epidemic.

The study participants must test themselves throughout the trial period, partly by measuring antibodies, partly by swapping themselves in the throat and sending the samples back to the researchers for analysis.

At the end of the period, participants are tested again with both tests for corona infection. The study is conducted for a month from April 8, after which all tests will be analyzed.

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