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Fundings for prediction of COVID-19 infection and clinical severity

One of the major challenges of reopening the community, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is having access to a rapid and reliable test for SARSCoV2 infection. With fundings from Independent Research Fund Denmark Professor Jørgen Kjems will, in collaboration with researchers from DTU and Rigshospitalet, develop a method that can detect the virus at very early stages of infection and, at the same time, predict the severity of clinical symptoms the patient may suffer.

Professor Jørgen Kjems and collaborators receive fundings from Independent Research Fund Denmark for corona related research. Photo: Jesper Rais, AU Photo

The researchers will develop a method that can detect viral infection at very early stages and at the same time be able to predict the severity of the patient's course of disease.  The method is based on the so-called 'APTASHAPE' technology, which is developed in Jørgen Kjems' laboratory, where billions of small biosensor molecules, based on RNA, provide a snapshot of proteins and metabolites in the patient's blood. 

The ultimate goal is to create a fast screening platform

Traditional antibody-based tests for COVID-19 can first be done 7-10 days after the infection, while the new system is based on the body's immediate response to an infection in the form of changes in the blood composition, which occurs already after 6-12 hours.

Since the test is based on a very detailed picture of changes in the patient's blood, it may also be able to detect underlying disease history that will have an impact on the COVID-19 course in the individual patient. The ultimate goal of the technology is to create a fast screening platform that can reveal if a person has been infected within a few days and at the same time warn of any complications due to their underlying disease status.

The Independent Research Fund Denmark received 370 applications (DKK 665 million) for a total of DKK 22 million granted for corona related research. Professor Jørgen Kjems and collaborators -  Professor Peter Heegaard, Centre for Diagnostics at DTU and Professor Peter Garred at Clinical Molecular Medicine, Rigshospitalet - were among the only 3% successful applicants (grant of DKK 2.8 million). 

The news article is based on a press release from the Independent Research Foundation Denmark

With a grant of DKK 25 million from the Carlsberg Foundation, Professor Jørgen Kjems and his colleagues from Health, the University of Copenhagen and the Danish Serum Institute to develop other methods for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infections. The goal is at the same time to equip the world to better withstand future viral epidemics.  

Read more about the project


Professor Jørgen Kjems
Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO)
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Aarhus University
Email: jk@mbg.au.dk - +45 28992086