Year of grant:

Research Area:
Heilsa - COVID-19 verkætlan

Project type:

Project title:
Korona í Føroyum – kanningar av smittutølum, sjúkueyðkenni og andevni hjá korona sjúklingum í Føroyum

Grant number:

Project manager:
Shahin Gaini

Landssjúkrahúsið og onnur

Other participants:
Maria Skaalum Petersen, DfAA, FF, Marnar Fríðheim Kristiansen, LS, FF, Bjarni á Steig, LS, Marin Strøm, FF, Debes Christianssen, HSF, Guðrið Andorsdóttir, ÍLS, Lars Fodgaard Møller, LL, Hannis Gislason, FF

Project period:
Original: 17/04/2020 – 31/12/2020
Final: 17/04/20 – 18/05/2022

Total budget:
kr. 499.267

Grant from the FRC in DKK:
kr. 499.267

Project description:
We suggest the following studies: a) To investigate the reproduction rate of COVID-19 and the development of the growth rate in relation to the double strategy of mitigation and containment in the Faroe Islands, where early calculations show R0 as being the lowest in Europe. R0 will also be determined directly using Individual level modelling. b) To estimate the case fatality rate and morbidity for COVID-19 in the Faroe Islands, where we anticipate few undiagnosed cases exist. Of note, the fatality rate in the Faroe Islands should be lower than eg. Italy, if arguments in the recent report in JAMA regarding age distribution, definition of COVID-19 related deaths and testing strategies are valid5. c) To undertake a large infrastructural investment in blood sampling of all individuals who are tested positive for COVID-19 and an equal number of controls who tested negative to investigate the SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody formation and development. This will form the basis for several research projects, e.g. ‘the duration of infectious period for COVID-19 patients and the duration of protection from re-infection’, ‘serological study of immunity level in a longer perspective.

The project was planned already within a month after the first cases of Covid-19 in the Faroe Islands. The project strategy was to make a research network mobilizing relevant research actors, in the field of health research in the Faroe Islands, in an effort to gather as many data as possible regarding this new disease in the Faroe Islands. The project was broad in its scope and focused on Covid-19 epidemiology in the Faroe Islands, Covid-19/SARS immunology/serological response to Covid-19 disease, and on clinical aspects of this new disease. The main results were the detailed description of the (1) Epidemiological curve of Covid-19 disease in the Faroe Islands during the first wave of Covid-19, (2) Clinical description of Long Covid in the Faroe Islands, (3) sero-epidemiological studies of Covid-19 in the Faroe Islands, (4) effect of Covid-19 on cancer epidemiology in the Faroe Islands. Several papers have been published in high quality high impact scientific journals. The research has been presented and discussed with the WHO Europe office. A bio-bank has been created for future tranlational research projects regarding Covid-19 in the Faroe Islands.

Project status:

Project output:
Scientific articles, books, thesis etc.
1. Petersen MS et al. Factors influencing the immune response over 15 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection: a longitudinal population-wide study in the Faroe Islands. Under review
2. Petersen MS, Hansen CB, Kristiansen MF, Fjallsbak JP, Larsen S, Hansen JL, Jarlhelt I, Pérez-Alós L, Steig BÁ, Christiansen DH, Møller LF, Strøm M, Andorsdóttir G, Gaini S, Weihe P, Garred P. SARS-CoV-2 Natural Antibody Response Persists for at Least 12 Months in a Nationwide Study From the Faroe Islands. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2021;8(8):ofab378; doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofab378
3. Kristiansen MF, Petersen MS, Strøm M*. Cancer diagnosed during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Faroe Islands. Acta Oncol. 2021 Jul;60(7):856-858; doi: 10.1080/0284186X.2021.1919755 (*shared last authorship).
4. Long COVID in the Faroe Islands - a longitudinal study among non-hospitalized patients. Petersen MS, Kristiansen MF, Hanusson KD, Danielsen ME, Á Steig B, Gaini S, Strøm M, Weihe P.Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Nov 30:ciaa1792. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1792. Online ahead of print.PMID: 33252665 Free PMC article.
5. Epidemiology and Clinical Course of First Wave Coronavirus Disease Cases, Faroe Islands. Kristiansen MF, Heimustovu BH, Borg SÁ, Mohr TH, Gislason H, Møller LF, Christiansen DH, Steig BÁ, Petersen MS, Strøm M, Gaini S.Emerg Infect Dis. 2021 Mar;27(3):749-758. doi: 10.3201/eid2703.202589. Epub 2021 Jan 29.PMID: 33513332

Storage and access rights til collected data
The blood samples are stored at the Genetic Biobank and at DfAA. Access is possible provided it is within the orignal aim or alternatively, provided approval from the Faroese Ethical Commitée.

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