The University of Helsinki helps the healthcare system in the coronavirus crisis

If requested, faculties can assist in testing, provide equipment, facilities and trained staff, and share expertise. The University is also carrying out several research projects related to the coronavirus.

The faculties and units of the University of Helsinki are helping the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) and Finnish society deal with the coronavirus situation.

The University is carrying out several research projects related to the coronavirus. These projects explore topics such as increasing coronavirus testing capacity, analysing the formation of antibodies to the virus and developing new drugs. Information on ongoing research projects can be found, for example, on the COVID-19 website.

If requested by HUS, the Faculty of Medicine and the Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE) will offer University facilities and equipment on Meilahti Campus for COVID-19 testing. Various communities have provided the HUSLAB laboratory with plastic components required for coronavirus testing.

Healthcare professionals working for the University can voluntarily sign up to work at HUS.

“In Meilahti, we are accustomed to continuous cooperation with HUS in both research and education, but the coronavirus situation has expanded our cooperation to encompass the use of facilities and laboratory equipment,” explains Vice-Rector Tom Böhling.

“However, this cooperation is not limited to the Faculty of Medicine, but rather all campuses are actively involved.”

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has increased the capacity of certain laboratories and can, if necessary, begin testing related to the coronavirus. The University’s diagnostic services for pathology and parasitology have agreed with the Finnish Food Authority on serving as a diagnostic reserve for infectious animal diseases, if necessary.

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital has gathered nationwide information on the intensive care equipment used at veterinary clinics that is suitable for use in the treatment of humans. The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry has also surveyed suitable equipment as well as staff members who are qualified nurses or medical laboratory technicians.

Students of the Faculty of Pharmacy are continuing their pharmacy traineeships as part of their studies, and the Faculty has supplied purified water to the City of Vantaa for the manufacture of hand sanitiser for use by services for the elderly.

At the Faculty of Science, the Department of Physics is conducting materials research related to the coronavirus, such as the characterisation of filter media produced by an Italian children’s hospital using 3D printing, and structural studies using X-ray microtomography. The research responds to an acute need and is of direct benefit to those in crisis areas.

Researchers of various fields also share their expertise with, for example, the Finnish Parliament and public authorities, and appear in the media. In addition, research staff at the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Educational Sciences, for instance, are organising open online lectures and events. Topics include understanding economic crises, the societal impact of the crisis, and workplace wellbeing in exceptional circumstances.

The University surveyed the assistance it provides at the request of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Further information:

Vice-Rector Tom Böhling
Phone 029 4122 251