Researchers test if facemasks protect against COVID-19

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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