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UMCG examines Covid patients who were sick at home

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22 July 2020

​The UMCG conducts research on COVID-19 patients who are not hospitalized, and their family members. With the study, the researchers want to gain more insight into the impact and consequences of the disease on this large group of patients and their families, in order to draw up guidelines for the treatment of COVID-19 patients at home on the basis of this. The research, called COVID-HOME, is carried out by the Department of Medical Microbiology & Infection Prevention of the UMCG in collaboration with the GGDs Groningen, Drenthe, Friesland and IJsselland. ZonMW has made a subsidy of almost € 430,000 available for this research.

Guidelines on COVID-19 diagnoses and treatments are being developed while experts do not yet know everything about this new disease. Most attention in research focuses on patients admitted to hospitals. Little is known about the impact and consequences for non-hospital patients - their infectiousness, the distribution routes of the viruses and how long they have to remain in isolation.

More knowledge is needed to properly treat patients who are isolated at home and to improve guidelines. The research aims to gain more knowledge about how the disease progresses in this group of patients. The knowledge can help to give patients the right treatment in the future and to be able to check in time when their disease is going to deteriorate. Understanding these patients' infectiousness helps determine how long they should remain in isolation and when they can leave their homes without the risk of passing the virus on to others.

The project leaders Adriani Tami and Ieneke van der Gun want to monitor about 200 positively tested persons, including their family members. They are visited weekly at home from the time of positiv​e testing to obtain clinical and laboratory data. This is done by, among other things, taking a nose and throat swab, blood and urine. Family members of people who have tested positive are also invited to participate in the study. Nose and throat swabs are also taken from them to determine if and when they become infected.

The need and importance of this investigation is significant at the present stage of easing all measures and the potential new outbreaks that may result. The investigation will continue for 6 months.