New research can improve the way we handle Covid-19. NRP 78 is researching innovative solutions and developing recommendations for public health.

Despite intensive multinational research and development, we still know too little about the coronavirus. In order to enable decision-makers to take appropriate measures for further waves of the corona pandemic, administration, society and politics depend on scientific knowledge to make evidence-based decisions. A dialogue is needed so that the health of the population can be protected and a normalisation of public life and the economy is possible despite the pandemic. Finally, the health system must be optimised so that it is better equipped to deal with current and future crises.

What is the objective of NRP 78?

The primary objectives of NRP 78 are to advance understanding of Covid-19, develop recommendations for clinical management and the public health response, and to drive the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

Why is the research programme important?

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Covid-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Today, the pandemic continues to pose significant challenges for public health and the economy. Despite major efforts, our knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 is still limited. There is no established, specific therapy. Authorities, politicians and society depend on scientific information for evidence-based decisions to protect the public and enable the normalisation of public life and the economy.

What exactly is being researched?

There is still an urgent need for biomedical and clinical research to gain a better understanding of this virus and its future evolution. Epidemiological studies can improve understanding of the way the virus is transmitted and contain its spread. Additional research is also needed to develop new vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics and to ensure optimum clinical management of patients.

How will this be achieved?

This research programme aims to build on existing national research competencies, to channel and bundle them, and to foster collaboration and an exchange between scientists, politicians and society. The topics addressed by NRP 78 will be grouped into four research modules.

How long will the research programme last and how much will it cost?

Research will be carried out in a total of 28 projects, each assigned to one of four programme modules. NRP 78 will operate with an overall budget of 20 million Swiss francs. It began in 2020 and will run for two years and a half.

How will NRP 78 communicate its results?

During this period, findings and recommendations from the research projects will be presented and discussed at workshops or other events. They will be disseminated effectively and continuously on this website as well as on social media so that they can be incorporated by politicians, in practice and by society.

Programme timetable