In early 2020, researchers in the Clinical Microbiology unit of Turku University Hospital heard about the new Sars-CoV-2 virus. They were among the first ones to start developing the diagnostics. With a foundation in the strong diagnostic expertise at the University of Turku and Turku University Hospital (Tyks), the test developed in Turku has had a central role in the fight against the coronavirus.
The coronavirus launched a pandemic, but also a wave of new research. In spring 2020, most virologists around the world started to study the new, unknown virus. The challenge was also taken up at the University of Turku and Turku University Hospital (Tyks). Eighteen months into the pandemic, the number of international medical publications related to the virus in PubMed is already around 170,000, which is a truly exceptional number.
A new Finnish study shows that 180 health care workers who had received two doses of the Pfizer and Biontech vaccine have very good antibody responses against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The immune response was as strong against the alpha variant (formerly the UK variant) but was somewhat decreased against the beta variant (formerly the South Africa variant).
The virologists at the University of Turku have followed the spread of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus closely since the beginning of the year. Laboratories in Turku received the first genes of the new virus in February and, ever since, researchers have strived to solve the mysteries of the pathogen only the size of 120 nanometres.