Information on the supported projects.

In April 2020, the University of Zurich created a pandemic fund and launched a fundraising campaign. The fund will be used to support important and urgent research projects that will help to overcome the coronavirus crisis. More than 600 people, companies, and foundations have donated money to the pandemic fund in recent weeks. We have now reached our intermediate goal of CHF 500,000 and would like to thank you warmly for your help. To be able to continue pushing ahead with the most urgent projects, a further fundings are required.

The Swiss National Science Foundation has since promised further funds for COVID-19 research. However, these funds are still insufficient to cover the costs of the coronavirus research projects at UZH, despite the fact that many of our researchers have reacted to the new situation with great flexibility and agility and immediately redesignated some of their own funds to coronavirus research. The work required here is additional, and additional work necessitates additional funds.

So that you can get an idea of the projects being supported, we let our researchers do the talking themselves in the videos below.

Appeal by Professor Milo Puhan, Director of the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute at the University of Zurich (May 2020)

Professor Milo Puhan’s research project focuses on a Swiss-wide study of data on coronavirus antibodies in all age groups. The numbers can be compared across 12 universities in Switzerland and will allow reliable, up-to-date information to be given about the spread of the virus. This will establish a sound basis upon which decision-makers in the worlds of business and politics can adopt suitable measures for tackling the pandemic.

Financing required by the end of 2020
: CHF 1,800,000

Current project status
(12 May 2020):
Puhan: “From 18 May, we will conduct epidemiological tests of 1,600 people from the general population, 200 Spitex, and 200 retirement home workers to assess whether they have antibodies; testing will be implemented in two phases. We have also launched a very large project with the Department of Education, as part of which we will test three classes at around 50 schools (amounting to a total of approximately 3,000 students and their teachers) in three phases between now and Christmas.”


Appeal by Prof. Dr. Alexandra Trkola, Head of the Institute of Medical Virology at University of Zurich (Mai 2020)

Professor Alexandra Trkola’s team is studying several questions. The basic goal is to find out why people react to the new coronavirus so differently and how long antibodies protect the body against further infection with the virus. The antibody response of infected people will provide potential answers, which in turn will support the development of vaccinations, therapeutic antibodies, and plasma therapies. This will also lead to the creation of valuable tools, which can subsequently be used for research into and monitoring of other diseases.

Financing required by the end of 2020: CHF 950,000

Current project status (12 May 2020):
Trkola: “Our project has taken some big steps forward in recent weeks. We have developed and evaluated our own serology test. It has shown a higher sensitivity than commercial tests and enables comprehensive differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion. At the same time, we have intensified the collaboration with the epidemiologists Professor Milo Puhan and Professor Jan Fehr. We will carry out the basic screening of their cohorts and will also have access to the samples for our own research questions. This will enable us to take advantage of synergies, test a larger number of people, and gain the maximum possible knowledge from the same samples.”


Appeal by Professor Onur Boyman, Director of the Department of Immunology at UZH/USZ (Mai 2020)

The aim of Professor Onur Boyman’s research project is on the one hand to examine all important parts of the immune system of COVID-19 patients using blood tests to ensure that these patients receive the most effective drugs. On the other, these tests will provide an important basis for identifying people at high risk of suffering severe symptoms as early as possible. These people will then be able to take or intensify the necessary precautions against the risk of infection. The research project is being conducted in collaboration with the following institutions: University of Zurich, UniversityHospital Zurich, Triemli Hospital, Limmattal Hospital, Uster Hospital, and Winterthur Cantonal Hospital.

Financing required by the end of 2020: CHF 1,600,000

Current project status (14 May 2020):
Boyman: “We have set up a multicenter network (including ethical approval, patient information, and coordination) in the Canton of Zurich, to which UniversityHospital Zurich, Triemli Hospital, Limmattal Hospital, Uster Hospital, and Winterthur Cantonal Hospital all belong. Thanks to this network, we have already been able to recruit almost half the required number of patients (150) for our investigations. We have received samples of these patients’ serum, their complete blood cells, their RNA and DNA, and detailed clinical information (“electronic health record”) for analysis. From this analysis, we expect to be able to gain insights into predicting the severity of COVID-19 cases and immunity against SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which will be extremely important for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention (e.g. by means of vaccination) of COVID-19. We have already obtained some very interesting results in terms of anti-SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobulin A (IgA) and G (IgG) antibody responses, which we will now publish in the form of a manuscript.”

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You can also donate by making a transfer directly to the UZH Foundation bank account.
Please include the following information with your transfer: your name, your address and the comment “Pandemic Fund.” This allows us to prepare a donation receipt for you.

UZH Foundation
Zürcher Kantonalbank, 8010 Zürich
IBAN: CH7900700114803409410
Kontonummer: 1148-3409.410
Clearing-Nr.: 700
Postkonto der ZKB: 80-151-4

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If you plan to donate larger amounts, you can get in touch with us.

Your contact

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Dominik Heitzmann

Phone: +41 44 634 61 84

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Phone: +41 44 634 61 82