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Swiss TPH News, April 2020
Swiss TPH Activities in the COVID-19 Era
Welcome to the COVID-19 era: the world is facing a pandemic that affects us all in one way or another. In close collaboration with partners, Swiss TPH is working hard to ensure that our core activities continue, in particular to support health systems that have been brought to their limits.

We are also actively engaged in the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, locally, nationally and internationally. Activities range from development of point-of-care diagnostics, designing and implementing seroprevalence studies and clinical trials with repurposed drugs, to mathematical modelling and computer-assisted algorithms to identify and reduce transmission.

Many thanks to all of our partners for your terrific collaboration, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and solidarity. Together, we will come out of this crisis stronger and better prepared to make strides towards improving population health globally.
Two doctors in a meeting
Trial Launched to Test Prophylactic Treatments for COVID-19 Contact Persons
With the easing of measures, there is a pressing need for tools and approaches to contain potential new COVID-19 outbreaks. Academic partners in Geneva and Basel joined forces to launch a clinical trial to test two drugs for the prophylactic treatment of people who were in contact with newly confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Scientist working in a laboratory
Coalition to Accelerate Research on COVID-19 in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
A group of scientists, physicians, funders, and policy makers from over 70 institutions from over 30 countries have launched an international coalition to respond to COVID-19 in resource-poor settings. Swiss TPH is represented through Director Jürg Utzinger and Director Emeritus Marcel Tanner.
Church in Basel, called Predigerkirche
Swiss TPH Doctors Support the University Hospital Basel in Fight against COVID-19
During the corona crisis, the University Hospital Basel has converted a nearby church into a Corona Test Centre where every day, hundreds of people are tested for the corona virus. » Read more
Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force
The Swiss scientific community, which has been acknowledged as having great potential in helping to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, now provides the federal and cantonal authorities with expertise in the fields of science and research. Swiss TPH scientists are contributing to the expert groups on data and modelling and on public health. » Read more
First COVID-19 Lab in Ethiopia
The JOHI laboratory at the Jigjiga University, which was set up with expertise from Swiss TPH, has become the first COVID-19 diagnostic lab in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia, which will contribute to COVID-19 pandemic control in Ethiopia.
Two HPSS collaborators distributing information posters
Support to COVID-19 Response in Tanzania
Tanzania coordinates its COVID-19 preparedness and response plan through a multi-sectoral national task force.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) supports these efforts through the HPSS project, implemented by Swiss TPH, with technical assistance in building up a national call centre to provide COVID-19 information to the population. » Read more
Support to COVID-19 Response in Tajikistan
To prepare for COVID-19, SDC’s Enhancing Primary Healthcare Services Project in Tajikistan supports national training for health workers on case management and contact tracing, engagement of community health teams to disseminate accurate information, the initiation of an international procurement and more. » Further information about the project
Doctor in Moldova with supply of disinfectant, gloves and face masks
Support to COVID-19 Response in Moldova
The Healthy Life Project in Moldova has introduced evidence-based guidance in phone consultations as well as redesigned the chronic disease self-management programme to operate remotely. In addition, the project provides support to community social workers and home-based care workers to strengthen COVID-19 efforts. » Read more about the project's activities
Primary Healthcare in Albania in the COVID-19 Context
Aiming to prevent and control COVID-19 infection, in accordance with the health authorities’ guidelines, the family medicine teams within the Health for All Project in Albania continue to provide services, mainly remotely, to chronic patients and suspected cases and those confirmed with COVID-19 infection. » Read more about the project
Support to COVID-19 Response in Kosovo
In Kosovo, the COVID-19 pandemic has just started. Appropriate behavioural change communication targeting the general population, vulnerable groups, patients with NCDs, minority groups and professional front line workers is essential. SDC’s Accessible Quality Healthcare project (AQH), implemented by Swiss TPH, is working closely with the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Public Health in Kosovo to address these needs. » More about the AQH project
Portrait of Kaspar Wyss
New Deputy Director of Swiss TPH
Kaspar Wyss, Head of the Swiss Centre for International Health, was appointed Deputy Director of Swiss TPH starting in April 2020. He succeeds Nino Künzli who stepped down after 10 years in this role.
» Read more
Children and teacher in African village
World Malaria Day 2020: Urgent Action Is Critical to Save Lives
This year's World Malaria Day is marked by major advances in the fight against malaria, with more than 7 million lives saved and over 1 billion cases prevented in the last two decades. At the same time, COVID-19 threatens this progress and immediate action is required to save lives. According to a model calculation, an increase of 105,000 malaria deaths, mainly children, is predicted due to COVID-19.
Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense
Sleeping Sickness Elimination at a Crossroads
Human African trypanosomiasis, also known as HAT or sleeping sickness, is a vector-borne parasitic disease. A special issue in the journal Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, edited by Christian Burri from Swiss TPH, addresses what has been achieved in regards to sleeping sickness elimination, and what could still get in the way.
Portrait of Marcel Tanner
Marcel Tanner Receives Honorary Doctorate from the University of Zurich
Marcel Tanner is one of the most distinguished health experts in Switzerland. On 25 April 2020, the University of Zurich awarded him with an honorary doctorate.
» Read more
Two researchers working in TB laboratory
2.5 Million Euro Grant Awarded for Tuberculosis Research
Sébastien Gagneux, Head of the Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology Department at Swiss TPH, was awarded a European Research Council Advanced Grant for EUR 2.5 million over five years to conduct research on tuberculosis. The highly competitive grant supports scientists who are conducting cutting-edge research in their field. Gagneux’s research focuses on multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Four girls talking
Improving Young People’s Mental Health
With over half the world’s population living in urban areas, decision makers often face significant challenges when designing effective mental health programmes and resources allocation. To address this, CSART and partners, including Swiss TPH, were awarded CHF 1.4 million by Fondation Botnar to develop a tool that uses computer simulation to guide the investment in mental health services for young people.
Panoramic view of Marseille
Exposome Research to Improve People’s Health in Urban Areas
By 2030, more than 80% of Europe’s population will live and interact within a complex urban environment, consisting of a mixture of social and environmental factors. These factors include where we live and work, what we eat, our social network, and which substances we are exposed to. These factors, known as the urban exposome, have an impact on our health. As part of the recently launched EXPANSE project, Swiss TPH and partners investigate the impact of the urban exposome on cardio-metabolic and pulmonary disease in Europe.
City in the smog
Modelling Methodology Leads to Better Understanding of Air Pollution and Health in Europe
To date, air pollution represents the largest environmental risk to health. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is responsible for about one in every nine deaths annually. A new study by Swiss TPH published in the peer-reviewed journal Environment International used robust modelling methodology to estimate nitrogen dioxide levels in Europe through the combination of monitors, satellites and chemical transport models.
Implementation of ALMANACH in Somalia
Starting in April 2020, Swiss TPH and the ICRC will work in collaboration with the Somalia Red Crescent Society to implement a newly developed version of the innovative eHealth tool ALMANACH (ALgorithm for the MANAgement of CHildhood illness) in the conflict-torn region of South-Central Somalia. Swiss TPH provides the technical expertise from the assessment, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the programme. » Read more
Due to the current situation, several events had to be postponed. Please find below the new dates. We are looking forward to your participation.
1 September 2020: Swiss TPH Symposium on Molecular Biology, Epidemiology and Diagnostics of Malaria. » More information
16-18 November 2020: Geneva Health Forum » More information
1 December 2020: Swiss TPH Winter Symposium: From Manufacturer to Patient: Reshaping Healthcare Supply Chains. » More information
» All Swiss TPH Events
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International Cooperation and Global Health
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Latest Publications
Øyåsa O, Borrell S, Trauner A, Zimmermann M, Feldmann J, Liphardt T, Gagneux S, Stelling J, Sauer U, Zampieri M. Model-based integration of genomics and metabolomics reveals SNP functionality in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. » Read the full article
Runge M, Molteni F, Mandike R, Snow R W, Lengeler C, Mohamed A, Pothin E. Applied mathematical modelling to inform national malaria policies, strategies and operations in Tanzania. Malaria Journal. » Read the full article
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