Researchers and staff collaborate in Amsterdam UMC COVID-19 Task Force

June 22, 2020

Over a short time period, the Coronavirus outbreak has profoundly affected the daily practice of Amsterdam UMC staff. Many promising initiatives have shown an enormous adaptive power, creativity and perseverance of the Amsterdam UMC personnel. Not only doctors, nurses and supporting staff have worked around the clock to provide the best care for patients, researchers have also joined forces to fight COVID-19. When it comes to our healthcare system, the pandemic has shown the importance of collaboration and innovation. That’s why Amsterdam UMC has set up five expert groups, which each report to the overarching COVID-19 Task Force. How does the COVID-19 Task Force work and what new studies have been initiated?

Amsterdam UMC COVID-19 Task Force
A couple of months ago, the COVID-19 Task Force was established at Amsterdam UMC to unite five expert groups around the infrastructure of COVID-19 research addressing clinical trials, data & imaging, the biobank, preclinical research, and the market and funding opportunities. The Task Force maintains in close contact with IXA, the legal office, research support services, and the communications department at Amsterdam UMC and acts as the main interface for researchers, clinicians, healthcare professionals, funding agencies and other relevant partners both internally and externally.

COVID-19 Biobank
In order to support fundamental and clinical research related to COVID-19, a biobank has been initiated by clinical departments, laboratories and the central biobank facility within Amsterdam UMC. This was the first COVID-19 biobank in our country and has collected an enormous number of samples, including clinical data, DNA and blood samples from COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Amsterdam UMC. A lot of different research is possible with all this material, such as research into antibodies, diagnostics or new treatments.

New and ongoing studies
All new and ongoing studies on COVID-19 are reported to the Task Force. Currently, more than 100 studies have been identified within Amsterdam UMC. These studies vary from clinical intervention studies up to surveys and data research studies. Some noteworthy studies are the study of Marit van Gils, who isolated powerful antibodies from COVID-19 patients that may be promising candidates for COVID-19 treatment and prevention. Or the COUNTER-COVID study by Harm Jan Bogaard that determine the effect of oral imatinib to prevent pulmonary vascular leak in COVID-19. Martijn Beudel and Paul Elbers started CovidPredict together with Maastricht UMC+, a central national patient database that aims to directly support physicians involved in the treatment of COVID-19 patients with insights and predictions based on advanced analytical techniques applied on the gathered data. And also the recovery from COVID-19 is addressed in several research projects, for example in the VIS cohort study by Menno de Jong. This prospective cohort study focusses on the viro-immunological, clinical and psychosocial correlates of the disease severity and long-term outcomes of infection in SARSCoV-2 patients.

For questions, please contact the COVID-19 Task Force via: