Last week, the SciLifeLab (Science for Life Laboratory) research center conducted a national call for projects targeting covid-19. This opportunity for immediate financing of selected projects is possible thanks to a multimillion grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. Nearly 300 applications were submitted and in this first phase eleven projects with focus on virus and immunity diagnostics for covid-19, and six initiatives involving test collection and biobanks were granted funding.

Four projects in the category "Alternative methods for virus testing" received grants. One of these goes to Mats Nilsson, professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Stockholm University. He receives just over SEK 300,000 for the RCA-COVID-DIA project, which is about creating a simple virus test.

- We want to develop a virus test that can be done in the community, in workplaces, health centers, and maybe even in the home. The test should be quick and easy and read directly with the eye or with a simple module if put on a mobile phone, says Mats Nilsson.

The project will test an idea that is based on many years of research and where the researchers hope to be able to create a new form of quick tests.

- We believe that it is important that tests can be disseminated in society as a complement to the centralized tests that are done within in the national health care.

In addition to Mats Nilsson, a couple of doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers in his research team are included in the project, but several other researchers at SciLifeLab will also be involved.

In addition to the projects supported through the call, SciLifeLab also contributes to two initiatives in testing covid-19, which are made possible by previous grants from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. This involves sampling of infected and hospitalized patients in order to explore the course of the disease under the direction of Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren, Karolinska Institutet, and to increase the test capacity to detect individuals carrying the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, led by Lars Engstrand, Karolinska Institutet and SciLifeLab.

Read more on SciLifeLab's website