A fundraising campaign to test healthcare professionals exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus

Healthy Professionals. Safer return. 


Let´s help those who are taking care!


The new SARS-CoV-2 virus has brought many challenges and an urgent need to define effective strategies to fight it. Testing Healthcare Professionals at the forefront of this fight allows to break an important transmission chain, anticipating measures for a potential new wave, and protecting society.

Scientists at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) are committed to protecting healthcare professionals on the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, through the production of diagnostic tests for 1) the detection of the virus (PCR tests) and 2) for the detection of antibodies in response to the virus (serological tests).

In an extraordinary emergency situation as we currently live, this action by IGC scientists will enable to isolate any doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals who may be infected. In this way we will be helping to reduce the spread of the virus in hospitals and in society, and it will also allow us to identify if these professionals have already been in contact with the virus, possibly being protected from a re-infection. This action is crucial for a safer return and to prepare for a possible new wave of infection.

Periodically testing health professionals, with and without symptoms, allows to:

  • Control the spread of the virus;
  • Prepare for a possible second wave of infection;
  • Protect society;
  • Reduce the growing anxiety of health professionals about being able to infect users, colleagues and their families;
  • Study the exposure and immune response to the virus.

IGC believes that the involvement of research institutions is essential in fighting this pandemic, and is making its technology platforms and scientific skills available to the common good through partnerships with hospital units.

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation joined this mobilization of civil society by doubling the value of each donation, which will allow it to carry out twice as many tests on health professionals in the front line.



Health professionals, symptomatic and asymptomatic, in direct contact with COVID-19 patients.

Identify who are the carriers (diagnostic tests for infection) and who are exposed to the virus (serological tests - antibody measurement) in hospital personnel.

  • Prevalence by hospital: allows to manage the protection and sustainability of the response of health professionals in the front line;
  • Prevalence by service: allows to manage the allocation of tasks/reorganization of services and effort management (COVID / non-COVID) in the second wave;
  • Who is a carrier and who has antibodies: allows management of service and vacation teams between vacancies.

The nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab samples as well as blood samples will be collected from each professional at an interval of 3 weeks for a period of at least 3 months. The samples are processed in the laboratories of the Gulbenkian Institute of Science.

Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Ocidental (including Hospitals Egas Moniz, Santa Cruz and São Francisco Xavier) and Hospital Fernando da Fonseca (Amadora - Sintra). In the first phase, 1000 professionals from these hospitals will be tested.

We have come to request support from civil society, in the amount of 30,000 Euros, which will contribute to the financing of the reagents needed to carry out 1000 tests on health professionals.

Required value / per test (reagents only): 30 Euros. The IGC provides all the equipment necessary to carry out these tests and, using its genomics unit and robotic system and all scientists involved are working on a voluntary basis in the production and testing of health professionals;

Several companies have already joined this initiative to allow the execution of this project (in the transport of samples, in the communication of the campaign).

From 7 May to 30 June 2020.





Updated on 03 september 2020

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