Coronavirus: Science and research

On this page you’ll find information on research projects. We also provide literature searches with compilations of scientific articles and further links.

Research projects

Diverse research projects are being conducted on COVID-19. On our website you will currently find information on the Corona Immunitas programme and the project to analyse wastewater (sewage) for the coronavirus.

Corona Immunitas

When someone is infected with the new coronavirus, their body produces specific antibodies in the blood. Through detection of these antibodies, we can determine how many people in the population have been infected.

A nationwide long-term monitoring programme seeks to provide insights into the spread and impact of coronavirus. It is being conducted as part of Corona Immunitas, a national science programme of the Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+).

Objectives of the programme

The detection of antibodies seeks to:

  • provide evidence on the spread of coronavirus in Switzerland’s different regions and in specific population and occupational groups;
  • provide information on whether and to what extent measures to combat the spread of coronavirus are working;
  • determine whether a past infection protects from re-infection and if so, how long this protection lasts.

Surveys aim to deliver insights into the impact of coronavirus in terms of:

  • our day-to-day lives,
  • our behaviour,
  • our health and
  • society.

Programme: participation, scope and duration

Fourteen universities and institutions from all over Switzerland are participating in Corona Immunitas. Over 40 studies are being conducted involving more than 30,000 Swiss residents.

Corona Immunitas will run until the end of 2022.

The FOPH is contributing to the study and providing financial support. The findings will provide an important basis to help federal and cantonal policymakers determine what measures are needed to combat the coronavirus epidemic.

Analysing sewage for the presence of Sars-CoV-2

People who are infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus excrete genetic material (RNA) of the virus in their stool. This way RNA gets into the sewage (wastewater), where it can be detected. Since February 2021 the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) has been gathering samples of wastewater from six treatment plants and analysing them for Sars-CoV-2. These tests can help determine whether people in the catchment area of the treatment plant are infected, and to what extent.

The treatment plants being tested were until 31 July 2021 in Lausanne, Laupen, Zurich, Lugano, Altenrhein and Chur. They were chosen on the basis of both their geographic distribution and the structure of their catchment areas – in other words whether they are urban or rural. From August 2021, the Geneva wastewater treatment plant is being sampled instead of the Lausanne plant because i) its catchment area is larger, ii) an international airport is located in the catchment area, and iii) there is a substantial flow of cross-border commuters.

The data from these wastewater analyses are able to give a good depiction of the development of the pandemic in the various catchment areas. In the ideal case, wastewater analyses thus have the potential to detect hotspots and any renewed increases in case numbers early on. The studies of wastewater samples will run until summer 2022. The final report is expected to be available at the end of 2022.

You will find more information on the Eawag website. The FOPH is providing funding and expertise to support the project.

Literature searches

Many scientific publications are appearing in connection with the coronavirus. We provide you with documents on selected topics containing compilations of scientific articles and summaries of the key insights.

Check for new literature references from time to time. The documents are prepared by members of the Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) on behalf of the FOPH. The SSPH+ foundation bundles the academic public health expertise of 12 Swiss universities.

Wastewater-based surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in various countries

In this document you will find an overview of how a selection of countries are monitoring the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by analysing wastewater.

Efficacy of non-pharmaceutical interventions

In this document you will find a compilation of scientific articles on the efficacy of non-pharmaceutical interventions.

COVID-19 vaccines

In these documents you will find a compilation of scientific articles on COVID-19 vaccines that have already been authorised and vaccines that have not (yet) been authorised. This material encompasses information on vaccine protection, immunity and side-effects.

Vaccination programme in Israel

In these documents you will find a compilation of the scientific literature on the vaccination programme in Israel, with information on the vaccination strategy in that country and the efficacy and safety of the vaccines.

Epidemiology of Sars-CoV-2 among children and adolescents

This compilation contains scientific articles on the transmission and spread of the novel coronavirus among children and adolescents.

Impact of COVID-19 on children, adolescents and young adults

In these documents you will find a compilation of scientific articles on the impact on COVID-19 on children, adolescents and young adults. This encompasses information on the impact of the pandemic both on everyday activities and on the physical and mental health of people in these groups.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the addictive behaviour of the population and the care of people with substance use disorders

This report summarises the current research findings on the impact of the pandemic and of pandemic-related measures on the addictive behaviour of Switzerland’s population. It focuses on the issue of how the care and overall social situations of people with substance use disorders have changed during the course of the pandemic.

Long-term effects of COVID-19

In these documents you will find a compilation of scientific articles on long-term effects of COVID-19, from the basics to the social and economic consequences.

Significance of aerosols in the transmission of Sars-CoV-2

In this document you will find a summary of scientific articles on the transmission of Sars-CoV-2 via droplets and aerosols, with a particular emphasis on the role of aerosols in transmission.

Evaluation reports

You will find all current evaluation studies on the management of the COVID-19 crisis on the Evaluation Reports on Communicable Diseases site (in German and French).  

Further information

Situation in Switzerland

Data and reports on the epidemiological situation, Switzerland’s strategy and news.


Implementation of the precautionary measures and the economic situation, monitoring of COVID-19 in Swiss hospitals.

Last modification 21.03.2022

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