Swiss Scientific COVID-19 Task Force

Switzerland, as many countries worldwide, is facing a huge healthcare crisis. The country, but also our institutions, are challenged to find the best approach to address the current pandemic.

Mandate for the COVID-19 Task Force

The ETH Domain, as the main scientific arm of the Confederation, has a huge potential to positively influence the outcome of this crisis, be it through research, education, knowledge transfer or even simply through our activities as large institutions with many employees. The ETH Domain should have the ambition to be a role model on how we handle the current crisis.

To help it reach these goals, the ETH Domain calls into life an ad hoc task force, and gives it the following mandate:

  • Identify research opportunities where ETH Domain scientists can quickly make a significant contribution to the understanding of and fight against SARS-CoV-2.
  • Identify innovation opportunities where ETH Domain know-how can rapidly create products or services that could significantly help in the fight against SARS-Cov-2.
  • Identify advising opportunities, where knowledge by ETH Domain members could help in decision making by politicians, policy makers or the public.

The members of the task force are welcome to identify and invite a limited number of additional experts to join the group, also from outside of the ETH Domain, should they not already possess the necessary complement of expertise.

The task force constitutes itself and reports directly to the directorate of the ETH domain (president ETH Board, school presidents and research institute directors). Financial support necessary to complete its tasks will be provided by the ETH Board upon request.

High priority tasks

A. Tests: virus tests

  • Lead Didier Trono and Markus Stoffel
  • Goal increase capacity for virus tests 

B. Serological Tests

  • Lead Didier Trono and Markus Stoffel
  • Goal increase capacity for serological tests

C. Link to clinical care

  • Goal information exchange with the clinics

C. Platform to exchange expertise, material, equipment and personnel 

  • Lead Roman Stocker
  • Goal create a platform for equipment, reagents, expertise, personnel

D. Platform to exchange data for epidemiological modeling and decision making

  • Lead Sebastian Bonhoeffer
  • Goal collect, curate, analyse epidemiological data centrally

E. Making and reusing masks 

  • Lead Andreas Mortensen and Peter Wick
  • Goal develop approaches for manufacturing and reusing tasks

F. Communication with the help of students

  • Lead Melanie Blokesch 
  • Goal contribute to launching communication campaign

For all these tasks, the task force collaborates closely with the federal authorities and other institutions in Switzerland.

Members of the COVID-19 task force

Martin Ackermann, ETH Zurich & Eawag - Head of Task Force
Melanie Blokesch, EPFL 
Sebastian Bonhoeffer, ETH Zurich 
Detlef Günther, ETH Zurich 
Christoph Hegg, WSL 
Andreas Mortensen, EPFL
Annette Oxenius, ETH Zurich 
Daniel Rigling, WSL
Gebhard Schertler, PSI
Roman Stocker, ETH Zurich 
Markus Stoffel, ETH Zurich
Didier Trono, EPFL 
Peter Wick, Empa 

Supported by ETH Board Office: Michael Käppeli and Ines Egli