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EPFL launches a series of projects to combat the coronavirus crisis

EPFL researchers, including dhCenter members Vincent Kaufman and Daniel Gatica-Perez, are working to help fight the coronavirus pandemic and mitigate its short- and long-term consequences. Since late March, researchers have put forth around 40 coronavirus-related project ideas, 12 of which have received funding.

EPFL is focusing its research efforts on discoveries that can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and alleviate its effects on society. In addition to organizing hackathons and developing proximity tracing technology, EPFL researchers are also leading studies on the virus’s spread, as well as on the diagnosis and prevention of the disease COVID-19.

The school has already chosen 12 such projects to receive funding. These studies were selected because they can deliver direct responses to the pandemic. Some projects bring together researchers from different EPFL schools or involve collaborations with other Swiss research institutes.

Consult the full list of research initiatives here.

Policy and data
• COVID-19 collaborative research on housing wellbeing: Initiating a Swiss Corona Citizen Science Research Team (Vincent Kaufmann, Claudia Binder and Daniel Gatica-Perez)
• MedCo for COVID-19: Understanding the pathology through international, privacy-conscious data sharing (Jacques Fellay and Jean-Pierre Hubaux)
• Understanding epidemic spreading (Pascal Frossard)
• The COVID-19 pandemic: An economic perspective (Jean-Pierre Danthine)
• “Save the City:” A game to encourage social distancing (Tom de Geus, Mario Geiger, Leonardo Petrini and Matthieu Wyart )

Cures and vaccines
• Structure-based design of protein-based anti-virals and vaccines targeting SARS-CoV-2 (Bruno Correia)
• Development of non-toxic virucidal pan-coronavirus antivirals (Prof. Caroline Tapparel (UNIGE) in collaboration with Francesco Stellacci)

Diagnostics and testing
• Development of simple, low-cost molecular diagnostic tests using cell-free systems. (Sebastian Maerkl)
• Host genetics of life-threatening SARS-CoV-2 infection in previously healthy patients (Jacques Fellay)

Preventing or tracking contagion
• Wastewater-based epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in Switzerland (Tamar Kohn)
• Daylight-activated photocatalytic window coatings for disinfection of indoor pathogens (Paul Dyson)
• Protective roles of pulmonary surfactant against SARS-CoV-2 infection (Vivek Thacker and John McKinney)

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