Faroese lab ready to start coronavirus research

28.03.2020 - 13:52
Faroese lab ready to start coronavirus research
As soon as research funding has been secured, Faroese scientists can begin carrying out genome sequencing of the coronavirus
Research centre iNOVA

With its small population and advanced testing facilities, the Faroe Islands can be regarded as a mini laboratory in terms of coronavirus research.

So says Janus Vang, CEO of research centre iNOVA in Tórshavn, who believes that Faroese coronavirus research can offer valuable insights into the virus.

”Faroese researchers can create a research strategy that’s entirely based on local circumstances, and we now have the facilities to analyse our own data,” he says.

“We have the right expertise, all the latest research equipment and a substantial amount of research data in the shape of record-high numbers of corona tests to accurately track the spread of the infection.”

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This, he adds, can result in a highly accurate picture of the genetic makeup of the coronavirus, its transmission patterns and how it develops.

“We will also be able to further clarify whether there are different strains of the virus and different forms of transmission.”

Work has begun

Preparations are already underway, says Debes Hammershaimb Christiansen, head of the test laboratory at the Food, Veterinary and Environmental Agency (HFS).

“We are ready. We have already started setting up a laboratory at iNOVA,” he says. “But converting the current research facilities into a corona-specific lab is a costly operation, so before we can start the actual research work, we need to secure some funding.

The Danish Novo Nordisk Foundation recently earmarked DKK 50 million for research which can help fight the coronavirus.

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The foundation has specified that Faroese scientists are welcome to apply for a share of these funds.

According to Christiansen, once the funding has been secured, the first results from the research could be ready within three or four weeks.


Translated by prosa.fo

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