Press Release – RECOVER enrols first participants in three COVID-19 studies

Antwerp, Belgium – 22 April, 2020

As part of its research response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU-funded RECOVER project (Rapid European COVID-19 Emergency Research response) has enrolled the first participants in three of its studies. This is an important milestone to answer crucial questions on COVID-19 and inform healthcare workers and policymakers on optimal care and effective public health measures.

Household transmission study

On Wednesday 22 April 2020, the first household was enrolled into the RECOVER household transmission study. This is a crucial study as the spread of infection within households is one of the main factors that drives the pandemic of SARS-CoV-2. It will be carried out with household members living with a person who is confirmed to be ill in order to better understand how the virus spreads.  

All participating households will take part in the study through the COVapp. This is a custom-made interactive app that will guide participants on study activities, such as recording their symptoms on a daily basis. Household members will also be asked to collect swabs on the 1st or 2nd day when they show the first respiratory symptoms. Samples will be screened for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses in the study laboratory. Blood will also be collected to test for antibodies against the novel Coronavirus among the households.

The study team will also interview household members to better understand how they are coping and how they are managing to implement recommendations that aim to prevent spread of infection within the home.


On Tuesday 14 April 2020, the first patients were enrolled in the SOS COVID study (SARS-CoV-2 observational study of community acquired acute respiratory tract infection during a time of widespread suspected COVID-19 in European primary care). This observational study will determine what proportion of patients with respiratory tract infection and/or COVID-19 suspicion in primary care are infected with SARS-CoV-2. It will also define the risk factors for complications of the disease. The first patients were recruited in the Netherlands and the study will expand to up to 10 European countries.

Currently most of the research around COVID-19 has been conducted in hospital settings among severely affected patients. Fewer studies have focused on mild patients that present to primary health services. Studies in community settings are crucial to generate evidence about mild and/or undiagnosed SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as to track the progress of the disease.


On Thursday 2 April 2020, the first interview was completed for the RECOVER-QUAL study (Rapid European SARS-COV-2 Emergency research Response: Qualitative interviews with patients and healthcare professionals), a multinational qualitative study assessing healthcare professionals’ and patients’ experiences of primary care delivery in Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight countries are included in this work which will provide evidence to inform health service delivery strategies by understanding patient and professional perceptions and behaviours related to COVID-19.

Contact person:

Herman Goossens, MD, PhD
Coordinator of the RECOVER and PREPARE Projects
University of Antwerp – Laboratory of Medical Microbiology
Universiteitsplein 1
B-2610 Antwerp – Belgium
+32 475 327344

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