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Versatile tasks for Covid-19 Fighters: who is currently doing what at the LNS? (Part 1)

Versatile tasks for Covid-19 Fighters: who is currently doing what at the LNS? (Part 1)
2020 05-25

The current period is a challenge for all of us. As Covid-19 Fighters, we are at the forefront when it comes to protecting people’s health. And even though the measures taken by the government have been gradually relaxed since the beginning of May – as has our own crisis mode – it is still a long way from normal. In other words, the situation will remain an exceptional one for some time to come.

Against this backdrop, the question naturally arises: how exactly is the LNS working in this exceptional situation when it comes to COVID-19? How have we adapted individual services? In short: who is actually doing what when it comes to COVID-19? And who is currently taking on special tasks? Here are a few brief answers:

Department of Microbiology

Since entering crisis mode and our joint fight against Covid-19, our virologists have naturally been at the heart of the work of this department – and the same goes for the entire LNS.

The virology and serology service does the tests that arrive at the LNS from hospitals, from the Inspection Sanitaire and from the nursing homes – and thus plays a key role for the whole country and its people. They also play a key role in advising various stakeholders (including the Direction Santé) on several subjects around strategy and testing options. The service is also a key partner in the CON-VINCE study. The latter is a national project that evaluates the prevalence and the spread of COVID-19 in Luxembourg. Epidémiologie et Génomique Microbienne is supporting sequencing efforts of the virus and Bactériologie-Mycologie-Antibioresistance-Hygiène Hospitalière also support their virologist colleagues on a technical and scientific level.

Department of Medical Biology

The Department provides support to microbiologists by testing the so-called Roche kits with a view to their application in Luxembourg. These are serological screening tests, and the LNS was commissioned by Roche to perform this task even before the worldwide launch, as the Luxembourg reference laboratory. The future use of these tests is still an open question.

The Department is also working with the LIH on the international DisCovery study, led by INSERM in France, which involves the dosing of two drugs, which are candidates for treating the disease.

On a daily basis, the team continues to carry out the usual tests for newborns.

Our Réception centralisée continues daily work and supports the Microbiology team by coding the Covid-19 tests carried out in nursing homes and in hospitals.

Department of Health Protection

Textile protective masks were tested on behalf of the Ministry of Health by teams from both environmental hygiene and human biological monitoring and the food monitoring services. Chemical analyses and microbiological screenings were carried out by the food monitoring service, whereby it was determined that such masks could be used subsequent to washing.

In addition to this, Radu Duca, PhD, advised the Luxembourg Science Center on the creation of its Coronavirus Mythbuster video on beards & masks.

Forensic Medicine

Here, our Technical platform for analytical toxicology and pharmaceutical chemistry plays an important role in the fight against Covid-19. Our experts are testing imported drugs from Taiwan and South Korea for quality, content of active pharmaceutical ingredient and impurities.

The UMEDO service is also been available to victims of violence around the clock.

We are all COVID-19 Fighters!