May 1, 2020

CSEM is battling COVID-19

We are witnessing an unprecedented community effort as medical and civilian groups, specialized businesses, universities and researchers come together to combat COVID-19. This is a no-holds-barred fight! People are working hard to provide care and keep us safe; producing face masks, hand sanitizer and medical equipment; tracking the virus to figure out how it works; and developing effective tests, vaccines and treatments. CSEM has stepped up to the mark and is throwing its weight behind this effort. We are hopeful that, by joining forces, we will be able to get back what this virus has taken away: a normal life.

AirViMo – Airborne virus monitoring

Detecting viruses in the air to prevent their spread is a major challenge but one which the company Stat Peel is tackling with the help of the CSEM and the Institute of Virology and Immunology, a Federal institute associated with the University of Bern, thanks to the support of Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency. Together they are developing “AirViMo”, an air sampler used to quantify the number of particles present in the air and to collect them to assess their harmfulness to humans, animals, or the environment.

“AirViMo can be placed in rooms where there is a risk of Covid-19 transmission – such as waiting rooms, recreation rooms in hospitals, EMS, nursing homes, offices, on public transport and in schools,” explains Rudolf Bieri, CEO of Stat Peel.

COMO – COronavirus remote MOnitoring of outpatients with heart rate, breathing rate and skin temperature

COMO is a demonstration project funded by the ESA and the Italian Space Agency in response to the Coronavirus pandemic in Italy. The pilot enables COVID-19 patients who suffer from cardiovascular and respiratory complications to stay at home, thus lightening the burden on the Italian healthcare system during the COVID-19 crisis.

It is a remote, real-time, patient vital sign monitoring service based on wearable technologies and a cloud platform that allows healthcare providers to monitor the health evolution of COVID-19 patients. A broad clinical trial will be conducted in collaboration with the Sacco University Hospital in Milan under the guidance of Prof. Maurizio Viecca.

Detecting COVID-19 in saliva and an affordable ventilator with a pressure sensor

CSEM is involved in two of the eleven projects selected by the Botnar Research Centre for Child Health, which is supported by the Fondation Botnar.

New antibody test — Tracking COVID-19 and other infections in the population

CSEM and Swiss startup Adamant Innotech have come up with a robust test that can identify past infections – including COVID-19, the flu and around 15 other viruses. The two partners have teamed up to develop this fast and highly sensitive test, which uses a single drop of blood to detect antibodies the body has produced to fight various infections. The device is based on a mature optical microarray technology that has already been used in other medical applications. The new biosensor will simultaneously probe for up to 20 different types of antibodies, with test results ready in one to two hours.

A customized app to keep pace with the virus — Tracking new clusters with a smartphone app

CSEM teams are helping collect data from volunteers through a free smartphone app ( as part of the effort to stem the spread of coronavirus. The volunteers’ health and position data are collected via their smartphone, anonymized and then sent to Riva Digital: an online platform that maps out the readings in order to identify potential infection hotspots.

Early detection and infection tracking

2,000 AVA bracelets are being tested in Liechtenstein to detect early signs of COVID-19.

Biometric bracelets developed by Swiss startup AVA and based on CSEM technologies are currently being tested in Liechtenstein for their ability to detect early signs of COVID-19. The bracelets, which were originally designed to track fertility in women, will measure the wearers’ various physiological parameters while they sleep. In the first phase of the study, which is being run by a group of researchers and entrepreneurs, the bracelet will be tested on more than 2,000 volunteers between the ages of 33 and 51. Phase two of the study will expand testing to a larger population group. The collected data will be used to detect the virus as early as possible, track infection rates, and learn more about the disease.

Community action

  • CSEM has created customized 3D-printed parts for ventilator masks and tubes, for the Neuchâtel Hospital.
  • CSEM has provided the Neuchâtel Hospital with patient monitoring equipment.