The Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), together with the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, has set up an interdisciplinary study program consisting of a series of basic and clinical studies, which aim to expand knowledge about the new coronavirus and its health consequences as well as therapy options as quickly as possible. Using state-of-the-art methods - such as mass spectrometry, single-cell sequencing and high-throughput immunocharacterization - for example, the researchers are investigating the changes SARS-CoV-2 causes in the body. The research projects also shed light on the role of the heart and immune system in the disease process. The studies also focus on possible secondary damage and its prevention. Last but not least, a number of therapy options are being examined.
Professor Axel R. Pries, interim Chairman of the BIH Executive Board and Dean of Charité - Universitätsmedizin: “In light of the global threat posed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we as researchers have a duty to marshal all of our scientific knowledge to understand the virus and its infection strategies as well as the disease progression of COVID-19 patients. Only so can we better identify high-risk patients and develop new therapies and vaccines. Every contribution towards this effort makes a difference.”
In order to best promote research into SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 at the Charité and the BIH, the newly established Charité/BIH COVID-19 Research Board coordinates all research projects. Staffed by experts from a wide range of disciplines, it aims to promote synergies, make the use of scarce biomaterials as efficient as possible, and enable joint access to technologies.
Here we will keep you informed about current developments regarding SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 and activities of the Berlin Institute of Health
Since April 24, 2020, the interdisciplinary group "Control Forecasting of Intensive Medical COVID-19 Capacities (SPoCK)" led by the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) started its work. From the middle of May, the group is expected to make public daily forecasts of the further course of intensive care-related COVID-19 patients at local, national and European level over the next two years. These predictions can then be used by decision-makers in the public health sector to control the pandemic. Professor Sylvia Thun, Director of the Core Unit for Interoperability at BIH, leads the work package for interoperability in this group.
Dr. Elise Siegert, a participant in the BIH Clinician Scientist Program of the Berlin Institute of Health and Charité, has started a fundraising campaign that provides COVID frontline workers in Charité’s emergency rooms and intensive care units with a free meal each day. In its first month, it raised more than €50,000.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic there is an urgent need to better understand sex/gender differences in predictors, trajectories and impacts of COVID-19 prevention and treatment. Data from different countries, who present sex disaggregated numbers, show, that men and women are affected in different ways by the pandemic. It is still unclear, if women or men are more likely to be infected but from those countries, that present sex disaggregated data, we know that men are dying more often and develop more severe symptoms. Women on the other hand are much more affected by the huge burden of care work during the pandemic, represent a larger proportion of healthcare professionals and are more likely to become victims of domestic violence.
Prof. Dr. Christian Drosten, BIH Professor and Director of the Institute of Virology at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, has received the "Sonderpreis für herausragende Kommunikation der Wissenschaft in der COVID-19-Pandemie". The prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Stifterverband is endowed with 50,000 euros.
Scientists from the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Thorax Clinic at Heidelberg University Hospital have examined samples from non-virus infected patients to determine which cells of the lungs and bronchi are targets for novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection. They discovered that the receptor for this coronavirus is abundantly expressed in certain progenitor cells. With this knowledge, researchers* and doctors* can develop targeted therapies. The scientists have now published their findings in The EMBO Journal.
31 March 2020
BIH and Charité join forces against the virus: Digital Clinician Scientist programs Corona App
The Charité recently reported on a new app that allows users* to answer a questionnaire, determine their personal risk of infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and accelerate hospital processes by scanning the answers. The app was programmed by a participant of the BIH Academy: For about a year now, the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) has been offering the "Digital Clinician Scientist Program", funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), in its BIH Academy.
27 March 2020
Educational Ressources to Make the Best out of the Corona Break
Around the world, many researchers have found themselves in self-isolation, and are unable to continue performing lab-based studies. However, this can be an opportunity to learn and expand professional and scientific horizons. The BIH QUEST Center has created a list of resources to help you make the best of this strange and challenging time, and increase the quality of your research in the future.
The BIH QUEST Center together with the German Network for Evidence-based Medicine (DNEbM)and the German Academy of Ethics in Medicine (AEM) urge swift and transparent action to determine whether the measures to contain the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, such as school closures and contact bans, are achieving the desired results while being justified in terms of the numerous health, social and economic side effects. The partners have launched a call to establish a COVID-19 evidence task force that will discuss how a professional prioritization, coordination and communication of research on the containment measures can be implemented. The scientists have published the call here.
22 March 2020
Berlin Senate decides on extensive contact restrictions
The Berlin Senate implements the regulations jointly made by the federal and state governments for a uniform approach throughout Germany and sets a limit on personal contacts. According to these regulations, citizens must always stay in their flat or accommodation.
Certain reasons must be given for leaving. These include among others:
- Exercising professional, mandate-related or voluntary activities
- Visit of doctors
- Procurement of personal needs as well as visits to old and sick people.
- Sports and exercise in the fresh air
- Work in the allotment garden
- Walk with animals
- Performing necessary appointments with authorities, courts, etc.
- Retreats in buildings of religious and ideological communities
The contact restriction comes into force on 23 March 2020 and is valid until 5 April 2020.
For any stay outside the apartment or usual accommodation, a minimum distance of 1.5 metres to other persons must be maintained, if possible.
For more information please read the press release of the Berlin Senatskanzlei (in German).
19 March 2020
Presence emergency operation at universities and non-university research institutions
Operation at Berlin's universities and non-university research institutions will be limited to emergency presence from Friday, 20 March 2020, after closing time, until further notice.
Exceptions are Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, which will determine appropriate measures with regard to its tasks, as well as projects of non-university institutions that are related to coronavirus research.
More information can be found in the press release of the Senatskanzlei - Wissenschaft und Forschung (in German).
14 March 2020
No events with more than 50 participants*.
The Berlin Senate decided on 14 March 2020 that with immediate effect all public and non-public events in Berlin are prohibited for 50 participants or more.
For public and non-public events with up to 50 participants, the organizer must keep an attendance list containing name, address, postal address and telephone number. This list must be kept for at least four weeks and must be handed over in full at the request of the Health Office.
More information can be found in the press release of the Berliner Senatskanzlei (in German).