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COVID-19 Testimonial Series | Swiss Integrative Center for Human Health (SICHH)

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Adapting to become a satellite laboratory to carry out genetic testing of SARS-Cov-2 for the Fribourg Hospital (HFR)


The following article is part of BioAlps’ testimonial series and was written by Dr Jean-Marc Brunner, CEO at SICHH. Our series aims to provide a platform for the different life sciences actors from western Switzerland, who are active in finding and developing solutions to fight against the new coronavirus, to share their experience. 


Presentation of SICHH’s COVID-19 related activities

SICHH has implemented a test to identify Covid-19. Under the flagship of the Cantonal Hospital and the support of the University of Fribourg, our center has obtained the approval of SwissMedic, the national body for the authorisation and control of therapeutic products. The SICHH has thus become a satellite laboratory of the Fribourg Hospital (HFR). Our BSL-2 security laboratory allows us to carry out genetic testing of SARS-Cov-2 (FT-PCR) for the HFR. In addition to our highly responsive approach and our integrative mindset, we have the flexibility to adapt as the situation evolves (for example, by increasing our capacity very quickly when needed).

Besides that, we also launched the development of a test for the detection of SARS-Cov-2 based on saliva and we are conducting a study to assess the relationship between respiratory illness (including COVID-19) and the loss of smell and taste.


Impact of COVID-19 on the SICHH’s activities

At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, some of our projects and developments have been slowed down but our commitment to helping reduce the impact of COVID-19 quickly monopolised our whole team and brought us new needs of projects. In fact, with the importance of diagnostics brought to light, the scope of our diagnostics division became meaningful even to the most skeptical. From an organisational point of view, our integrative way of working allowed us to continuously adapt to the situation as it evolves. Our strong positioning and our positive reactions have been reported several times in the local newspapers and the public image of SICHH, over its usefulness, agility and flexibility, has been widely enhanced.

In the upcoming months and as a candidate to become a technological competences center at the national level in the diagnostics domain, SICHH will continue to commit to this crucial domain, for COVID-19 of course, but for other diseases as well.