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Novo Nordisk Foundation funds nine new coronavirus-related projects in Denmark and Greenland

The Novo Nordisk Foundation announces nine new grants for coronavirus-related projects in Denmark and Greenland. The total funding for the new projects amounts to DKK 8.5 million.

The new projects will, among other things, focus on:

  • establishing emergency shelter for socially disadvantaged people and managing acutely ill homeless residents;
  • investigating type 2 diabetes as a risk factor in COVID-19;
  • strengthening guidance for especially vulnerable people living with HIV to counteract negative physical and mental health effects; and
  • disseminating information about COVID-19 for children in Greenland.

The Foundation’s support for emergency projects relating to the coronavirus epidemic now totals DKK 60.5 million. The Foundation initially allocated DKK 50 million for the emergency fund but has received many excellent applications and has decided to exceed the original budget. The final deadline for applications is Friday, 3 April at 14:00.

An overview of the Foundation’s coronavirus-related projects is available here.

Read more about the nine most recent projects below.

Establishing emergency shelter in Odense for socially disadvantaged people with COVID-19, Municipality of Odense: DKK 2,425,410
The initiative aims to mitigate the health effects of the COVID-19 epidemic among socially disadvantaged people in the Municipality of Odense. The project will establish an emergency shelter in Odense for socially disadvantaged people with COVID-19. The purpose is to ensure that they receive appropriate care and treatment and that they do not transmit the infection to other socially disadvantaged residents, employees, volunteers and society in general. The project will also work to identify residents with COVID-19 who may need special attention and care and minimize the risk of infection. The project is being carried out in collaboration between the Municipality of Odense, Odense University Hospital and DanChurchSocial.

Managing acutely ill homeless residents, Municipality of Slagelse: DKK 2,069,555
The project aims to reduce transmission and to ensure the needs of homeless residents by bringing together homeless people who are ill and homeless people who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. The project will establish and operate 12 acute wards for homeless residents who are ill and/or have COVID-19. The project is intended to help to break the chain of transmission among homeless people. The project’s experiences will be pooled and evaluated to develop a special preparedness plan for managing transmission and managing acutely ill homeless residents. The Municipality of Slagelse and the Care Home Toften (KFUM Sociale Arbejde) are collaborating on the project.

Extra overnight accommodation for homeless people in Copenhagen, Blue Cross Denmark: DKK 1,791,116
The project enables the number of places for foreign legal residents who are homeless to be increased so that they can stay in a hostel that currently serves as the Blue Cross temporary shelter. The number of places will be increased from 40 to 65 in April and can be maintained at 65 places in May when the shelter was otherwise supposed to close down. The homeless people receive accommodation, food and laundry services and are also offered monitoring by health professionals. This will ensure that these homeless people can largely be kept off the street, thereby reducing the risk of transmission for a very vulnerable group. Quarantine sites will be available if some of these homeless people have symptoms of COVID-19. The project is run by Blue Cross Denmark’s homeless unit Grace.

Can the cardio-renal benefits of new glucose-lowering agents mitigate the excess risk associated with COVID-19 infection in type 2 diabetes? A nationwide registry-based evaluation, Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen: DKK 785,000
Diabetes is a risk factor associated with COVID-19, but the cause of this increased risk is unknown. It could be late complications or elevated blood glucose. The importance of ACE inhibitors for treating blood pressure has been debated, and it is unclear whether new diabetes therapy to protect the heart and kidneys (GLP-1 and SGLT2 inhibitors) could be beneficial in relation to COVID-19. The project will elucidate this based on nationwide registry data. It will analyse what characterizes people with diabetes who test positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the risk factors for serious complications and death among people hospitalized with COVID-19. Hopefully, the project may help to identify the people who need special care and who do not have an elevated risk despite having diabetes. The project may also help clarify the importance of treating elevated blood glucose and blood pressure in connection with COVID-19.

Information about COVID-19 for children in Greenland, UNICEF Denmark: DKK 360,000
The project will produce Greenlandic-language information videos on preventing COVID-19 for children and adolescents aged 10–17 years old. The videos focus on preventive measures such as hygiene, information for children about COVID-19 in general and the authorities’ recommendations communicated in a child-friendly way.

Help for especially vulnerable people living with HIV, Danish AIDS Foundation: DKK 336,000
By strengthening counselling, the project will counteract the negative physical and mental health effects of the most exposed people living with HIV who, as a result of COVID-19, experience insecurity and symptoms in relation to comorbidities and mental unwellness and are also cut off from physical consultations. This will be achieved through increased contact with the AIDS Foundation counsellors, new digital tools and intensified counselling after the lockdown period, when the established healthcare system will experience a scarcity of resources.

Website with home exercise videos for people with multiple sclerosis, Danish Multiple Sclerosis Society: DKK 309,750
The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Society’s project will rapidly produce a website that will offer people with multiple sclerosis a wide variety of home training videos on several levels. It has been documented that actively maintaining functional ability is essential for both the ability to be self-reliant, quality of life and reducing the risk of comorbidity. In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, all services for maintaining functional ability among people with multiple sclerosis have been closed. This applies to access to physiotherapy free of charge and admission to multiple sclerosis hospitals, and the project will therefore ensure that people with multiple sclerosis can train at home.

Funding for an informational insert on COVID-19 in Greenland, Mediehuset Sermitsiaq.AG: DKK 241,881
The grant will be used to publish a bilingual informational insert on COVID-19. The insert will appear in Greenland’s two national newspapers Sermitsiaq and AG, and the information will also be available free of charge on the Sermitsiaq.AG website, the country’s most frequently visited news feed. This will make the informational insert accessible to everyone in both the rural and urban areas of Greenland. Finally, the informational insert will be distributed to Nuuk’s 16,500 residents, since all cases of COVID-19 identified so far have been in the densely populated capital. The project is being carried out in collaboration between the Greenlandic media company Sermitsiaq.AG and Greenland’s Ministry of Health.

Community and outreach for children with developmental and intellectual disabilities – during the COVID-19 era, LykkeLiga: DKK 162,500
The Happiness League (LykkeLiga) is Denmark’s largest community for children with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families. The project will ensure continued physical activity and team spirit during a time when the children cannot meet physically. In addition, the project will communicate information to the target group about COVID-19. Children with developmental and intellectual disabilities are especially vulnerable and can easily become isolated in the current situation. Short films will be produced for the children and their families to support and inspire physical activity and social interaction. The films will also inform these children about the COVID-19 crisis in a language they understand and can manage. All content produced in the project will be disseminated openly through the Happiness League’s social media channels and thus be publicly available. In addition, the Happiness League will provide all the experience and knowledge gathered to interested parties.

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, [email protected], +45 3067 4805