This page gives an overview of how the UT researchers help to solve the global coronavirus pandemic. Here, you will find references to studies on coronavirus and the impact of the emergency situation carried out by UT researchers and their related comments published in media.
Studies conducted at the University of Tartu
By a cross-sectional study consisting of eight waves, UT researchers are determining the actual prevalence and progress of the pandemic in Estonia. Across Estonia, 16,000–20,000 people based on a random statistical sample will be interviewed and invited to be tested for coronavirus to provide the state with evidence-based data for the gradual exit from the emergency situation. A broad-based team of UT researchers has been involved in the preparation and implementation of the study, including experts from the UT Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health, Institute of Genomics, Institute of Computer Science, Institute of Mathematics and Statistics and Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies. Read more...
An interdisciplinary research team of the University of Tartu is actively collecting, modelling and analysing data on the spread of coronavirus. The researchers invite people to participate in a study on the prevalence of COVID-19 to create a database for mapping and modelling the spread of the virus. The research group includes computer scientists, statisticians, mathematicians and medical, genetic and social scientists of the University of Tartu. Read more...
UT economists are participating in a study coordinated by the Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI, https://celsi.sk/en/contacts/), aiming to map the policy measures used for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in different countries.
International study. In the European research consortium DynaMORE (www.dynamore-project.eu), scientists work together to find out how people adapt to adverse life circumstances and stress, and which factors protect them from developing stress-related mental disorders. Oftentimes, stressors differ a lot from person to person. However, the corona pandemic is currently affecting the lives of people all around the world and offers the opportunity to investigate which strategies are helpful in overcoming such big challenges. Read more...Estonian study. With the study, researchers collect information on which factors help or hinder coping with the emergency situation and adapting to changes. The results will help to determine which aspects should be emphasised in intervention and prevention. Read more...
In the study, a mobile game will be used to map the state of mental health of 7-14-year-olds and give them individual support to prevent the development of psychological issues. The game developed by Triumf Health includes a path about coronavirus, aiming to help children cope better in the current situation caused by the virus. Read more...
Medical researchers of the University of Tartu are participating in a study “Description of the cohort of SARS-CoV-2 positive women in childbirth admitted to Estonian hospitals and their newborns, the progress of childbirth and the newborn’s infection within the first 14 days of life”.
The University of Tartu, Tartu University Hospital and North Estonia Medical Center are inviting those who have recovered from the coronavirus disease to donate blood plasma as part of a clinical study of the efficiency of plasma therapy in the treatment of severely ill COVID-19 patients. Up to one hundred volunteers aged between 18 and 60 are needed for the study. Eligibility for the study is being assessed in both Tallinn and Tartu. Eligible donors will be sent to the Blood Center at North Estonia Medical Center for final assessment and plasma collection. More information (in Estonian and Russian)
There are many COVID-19 studies in progress, however there is very little published data available on the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies. To assess the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in all of Estonia we will first conduct a test-study in two Estonian regions, Saaremaa and Harjumaa. Read more...
02.06.20 The results of a monitoring study conducted by the University of Tartu for presentation to the government committee confirm that the easing of restrictions is justified
16.05.20 University of Tartu and Triumf Health started a study on supporting children’s mental health
15.05.20 Researchers from Tartu and Norway identified potential inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2
12.05.20 Coronavirus in Estonia has at least eight mutations
11.05.20 University of Tartu researchers and Selfdiagnostics OÜ develop a unique coronavirus rapid test
11.05.20 Study on coronavirus antibodies launched in Saaremaa and Õismäe
06.05.20 The first results of a cross-sectional study on the prevalence of the coronavirus in Estonia
23.04.20 Study on coronavirus prevalence launched
16.04.20 University of Tartu scientists develop SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection test
08.04.20 The Centre for Ethics assisted Estonian hospitals in drafting guidelines for crises
03.04.20 University of Tartu researchers study the spread of coronavirus in Estonia
20.03.20 The Government Committee on the emergency situation confirms the members of the scientific advisory board for combatting COVID-19
18.03.20 Tõnu Lehtsaar: how to cope with forced quarantine at home?
Researchers of the University in Tartu in media
In media, topics on coronavirus have been most often commented by (from the left) UT Professor of Medical Microbiology Irja Lutsar, UT Research Professor of Applied Virology Andres Merits and UT Professor of Mathematical Statistics Krista Fischer.
Media coverage in June
The referred articles and programmes are in Estonian.
05.06 – Tartu Postimees wrote that the Estonian Biobank of the University of Tartu invites gene donors to participate in a new research into genetic factors that determine the severity of disease or infection.
09.06 – ERR Novaator and Tartu Postimees wrote that the current results of the coronavirus antibody research, conducted by the University of Tartu and covering Saaremaa and Õismäe, indicate a wider spread of the virus.
11.06 – Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda wrote in the ERR opinion portal that we have to bear the coronavirus in mind also on Midsummer Day.
26.06 – ERR Novaator wrote that research conducted by the University of Tartu shows that the number of people infected with coronavirus was higher than official figures indicated.
11 to 24 May
14.05 - Eesti Päevaleht wrote that even though the corona crisis has clearly shown the importance of researchers, the situation of research and higher education funding is still bad. Head of the Institute of Computer Science and Professor of Bioinformatics Jaak Vilo commented on the same topic in the programme Reporter.
15.05 - Terevisioon interviewed Academy Research Professor Andres Merits and discussed topics related to the coronavirus pandemic.
16.05 - Arter, the weekend extra of Postimees, introduced Andres Merits as the only Estonian who has visited the biosafety level 4 lab in Wuhan.
17.05 - Professor of Medical Microbiology Irja Lutsar and Professor of Applied Virology Andres Merits commented in Delfi on the alert by WHO on the possible links between the Kawasaki disease and COVID-19.
17.05 - Professor of Mathematical Statistics Krista Fischer explained to Delfi Forte the methodology of calculating the indicators of coronavirus-related mortality.
18.05 – in an opinion piece in Päevaleht, Professor of Social Communication Marju Lauristin described how the crisis can be a clean-up for getting rid of obsolete habits.
20.05 – in Eesti Ekspress, Professor of Biomedical Technology Mart Ustav and Professor of Applied Virology Andres Merits explained how the development of coronavirus vaccine and treatment is going.
20.05 – Professor of Immunology Raivo Uibo gave an interview to Delfi Forte, saying that herd immunity would cost too many human lives and only the vaccine can save us.
22.05 – Professor Ruth Kalda spoke on Radio Kuku about the third wave of the study on the prevalence of coronavirus in Estonia.
22.05 – In Aktuaalne kaamera, Professor Irja Lutsar commented on the easing of restrictions and its possible impact.
24.05 – Vikerraadio spoke with Professor of Medical Microbiology Irja Lutsar about how our society and state has managed the pandemic and what lies ahead.
4 to 10 May
04.05 - ERR wrote about the Estonian study of blood plasma of people recovered from coronavirus.
04.05 - Delfi wrote that the UT researchers and the Estonian-German company Selfdiagnostics have started the clinical trials of a new rapid SARS-Cov-2 test enabling to detect infection more quickly and at a lower price.
05.05 - ERR and The Baltic Course wrote that The University of Tartu (TÜ) and Selfdiagnostics, a medical equipment research and development company, are cooperating on developing a rapid SARS-CoV-2 test. (In English)
05.05 – Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda wrote in Postimees about the study on the prevalence of coronavirus, emphasising the importance of people’s contribution.
06.05 – Delfi Forte published an interview with Academy Research Professor Andres Merits who expressed doubt in the usefulness of looking for the different strains of coronavirus.
07.05 – Professor Ruth Kalda spoke on Aktuaalne kaamera about COVID-19 cases diagnosed by family doctors.
07.05 – Professor of Molecular Immunology Pärt Peterson spoke on the Vikerraadio programme Uudis+ about what can be seen in the blood tests of people recovered from COVID-19.
07.05 – Professor emeritus in Mathematics Ene-Margit Tiit wrote in Postimees about the models predicting the spread of the disease and why it would be better to open many shopping places at the same time and not to shorten opening hours.
27 April to 3 May
28.04 - In the TV programme Suud puhtaks, Professor Irja Lutsar spoke about why and when to wear a mask and whether this should become a social norm.
29.04 - Eesti Ekspress published an interview with Professor of Mathematical Statistics Krista Fischer, who spoke about problems related to data on the corona pandemic.
29.04 - In Eesti Ekspress, Head of the Institute of Social Studies, Senior Research Fellow in Social Communication Margit Keller discussed normality before, during and after the crisis.
29.04 - Tartu Postimees wrote about the online seminar on COVID-19 impacts on air quality, where Professor in Environmental Physics Heikki Junninen and Senior Research Fellow in Air Pollution Modelling Marko Kaasik spoke about the impact of the pandemic on air quality as seen by remote and close sensing and concluded that the emergency situation has reduced air pollution everywhere.
02.05 - Associate Professor in Regional Planning Garri Raagmaa wrote in Postimees that after the corona crisis, the regional policy can no longer be overlooked.
02.05 - Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Stellar Physics of Tartu Observatory Laurits Leedjärv wrote in Postimees that the universe knew viruses long before humans evolved.
02.05 - Professor Irja Lutsar wrote in Delfi about the antiviral medication remdesivir.
20 to 26 April
20.04 - Professor of Social and Cultural Studies in Economics Anneli Kaasa wrote in Postimees that coping with the spread of COVID-19 in different places largely depends on the local cultural background, values and attitudes.
20.04 - Senior Research Fellow in Affective Psychology Andero Uusberg and Pärtel Poopuu wrote in Novaator about the new web-based study on emotions in the emergency situation and invited all adults to participate in the study.
20.04 - Professor of Health Care Management Raul-Allan Kiivet wrote in Postimees about adapting to the corona crisis.
23.04 - Professor of the UT School of Law Jaan Ginter expressed his opinion in Eesti Päevaleht that the emergency situation does not equal dictatorship and should continue for the time being. At the same time, Professor of Macroeconomics Raul Eamets said on ERR that the longer the emergency situation lasts the deeper the economic crisis will be.
23.04 - Head of the Institute of Psychology Kariina Laas gave an interview to Vikerraadio on how to exit from the emergency situation.
23.04 - On the news programme Seitsmesed uudised of TV3, Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda spoke about the study on coronavirus prevalence.
23.04 - Research Fellow of Clinical Pharmacology Jana Lass wrote in Postimees about the most promising medicines for SARS-CoV-2 at the moment.
24.04 - Andero Uusberg wrote in Delfi how the corona-era crisis which has forced people to live in isolation will also change our future behaviour and Professor emeritus in Mathematics Ene-Margit Tiit wrote in Postimees that we have to learn how to live with the virus.
25.04 - Professor in Media Studies Andra Siibak and Professor of Sociology Veronika Kalmus wrote in Postimees that the pandemic has been a wake-up call for the new Tiger Leap and we have created a strong take-off point for the new leap of the digital tiger, but we also need to set clear objectives.
25.04 - Research Fellow of Entomology Juhan Javoiš wrote in Postimees that the corona crisis is making us face the fact we have largely ignored so far: humans are biological creatures with all that comes with it, providing an important framework for future scenarios.
13 to 19 April
13.04 - Research Fellow in Semiotics Mari-Liis Madisson and Senior Research Fellow in Semiotics Andreas Ventsel discussed the corona fear and fearing the fear in ERR portal.
14.04 - Professor of Applied Virology Andres Merits commented in Delfi on the fake news spreading in social media that viruses do not exist.
14.04 - Professor of Mathematical Statistics Krista Fischer explained in Delfi the newest forecasts of the spread of coronavirus.
14.04 - Postimees published an article about how UT researchers led by Professor of Molecular Immunology Pärt Peterson developed a COVID-19 antibody test.
15.04 - Professor of Applied Virology Andres Merits spoke on the ETV programme "Ringvaade" about when the coronavirus vaccine could be ready.
16.04 - Research Professor of Cellular Immunology Kai Kisand helped the research journalist of Delfi Forte to study how coronavirus attacks human cells.
16.04 - the programme "Aktuaalne kaamera" spoke about the test developed at the UT that indicates immunity to coronavirus.
17.04 - Academy Research Professor Andres Merits and Professor of Mathematical Statistics Krista Fischer wrote in Delfi about the possibility of easing restrictions.
19.04 - on the programme "Prillitoos", the UT Counsellor-Chaplain Tõnu Lehtsaar spoke about how to keep one's head clear of troubling thoughts in the current times.
6 to 12 April
06.04 - virologist Andres Merits commented in Delfi Forte why information on coronavirus is so contradictory in different sources.
06.04 - Professor of Mathematical Statistics Krista Fischer commented in "Aktuaalne Kaamera" on the statistics of coronavirus infections in Saaremaa.
07.04 - Postimees interviewed Senior Research Fellow in Medical Microbiology of the Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine Paul Naaber who spoke about diagnosing COVID-19.
07.04 - In ERR web portal, Professor of Medical Microbiology Irja Lutsar and Professor of Mathematical Statistics Krista Fischer introduced the current situation of the coronavirus spread in Estonia and the forecasts of the future spread of the virus.
07.04 - Lecturer of Didactics of Physical Education Maret Pihu commented in ERR Novaator how home-schooling during the pandemic can affect children's physical activity.
07.04 - Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda commented in "Aktuaalne Kaamera" what information can be collected by testing people based on a random sample in understanding the spread of the coronavirus.
08.04 - Head of the Centre for Ethics Margit Sutrop wrote in Postimees that the UT Centre for Ethics in cooperation with hospitals compiled 12 recommendation for dividing limited healthcare resources.
08.04 - Professor of Pulmonology Alan Altraja explained in Postimees how to protect lungs from COVID-19.
08.04 - in Delfi Forte, Professor of Medical Microbiology Irja Lutsar commented on corona myths spreading in Estonia.
09.04 - Professor of Immunology Raivo Uibo explained in Eesti Ekspress how the coronavirus attacks the human immune system.
10.04 - in Õhtuleht, Professor of Experimental Psychology Jüri Allik explained why Estonians may find it easier to cope with isolation compared to some other nations.
10.04 - Postimees published an overview of the work of human geographers, studying how the coronavirus reached Estonia.
10.04 - Academician Ain-Elmar Kaasik discussed in Delfi whether coronaviruses are replacing flu.
10.04 - Lecturer in Administrative Law Alexander Lott wrote in ERR about the need to develop e-learning opportunities in view of the crisis.
30 March to 5 April
30.03 - Professor of Experimental Psychology and Academician Jüri Allik wrote in Delfi Forte about the phenomenon of coronavirus deniers.
01.04 - Pealtnägija told the story about the top laboratory that is suitable for studying the coronavirus but is not used and Novaator published an article about it. The next day, Delfi Ärileht wrote that the state's supplementary budget will allocate funding to take this laboratory into use.
01.04 - Senior Research Fellow in Human Geography Kadri Leetmaa wrote in Maaleht about the crisis as a lesson teaching us to organise our lives better in the future.
03.04 - Professor of International Business, Academician Urmas Varblane provided a forecast in Delfi Forte about life after the coronacrisis.
03.04 - Terevisioon interviewed the Head of the Institute of Computer Science, Professor of Bioinformatics Jaak Vilo, who spoke about the new interdisciplinary corona study of the UT and explained why and what kind of data is collected.
04.04 - Senior Research Fellow in Affective Psychology Andero Uusberg discussed in ERR why we reacted to corona the way we did.
05.04 - Professor of Molecular Immunology Pärt Peterson and Academy Research Professor Andres Merits spoke in Aktuaalne kaamera about the development of the coronavirus vaccine.
23 to 29 March
23.03 - Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda wrote in ERR about testing for coronaviruses and the patient's fundamental right to health.
23.03 - Professor Pärt Peterson spoke on Vikerraadio about the coronavirus, immune system and resilience.
24.03 - Associate Professor in Geriatrics Kai Saks wrote in Maaleht how to communicate with elderly friends and family isolated during the emergency situation.
25.03 - Senior Research Fellow in Botany Aveliina Helm spoke in Terevisioon about the impact of the pandemic on the environment and whether this could have a long-lasting positive effect on climate.
25.03 - Pealtnägija spoke about the consequences of the lockdown on the Estonian economy and people's behaviour. ERR also published an opinion by Professor of Urban and Population Geography Tiit Tammaru on the three key topics of impeding the spatial spread of the virus.
25.03 - Professor of Animal Ecology Raivo Mänd discussed in Delfi Forte about whether the coronavirus has an objective and idea of some kind.
25.03 - Counsellor-Chaplain Tõnu Lehtsaar wrote in Lõuna-Eesti Postimees that elderly people need special support in this situation.
26.03 - Senior Research Fellow of Clinical Psychology Marika Paaver wrote in Maaleht about coping with one's emotions during the crisis.
26.03 - ERR Novaator published the researchers' forecast of the spread of the coronavirus in Estonia in the coming weeks.
27.03 - Professor Irja Lutsar spoke on ERR about home-testing kits for coronavirus and concluded that they are not yet reliable.
27.03 - Delfi Forte published an interview with Rector Toomas Asser who spoke about the situation of the university as well as the Estonian health care system in the view of the pandemic.
27.03 - Tartu Postimees published an interview with Professor of Mathematical Statistics Krista Fischer, who explained the opportunities for modelling the future of the spread of the coronavirus based on data on people infected.
28.03 - Eesti Ekspress published an in-depth interview on COVID-19 with Professor Irja Lutsar and Professor Andres Merits.
16 to 22 March
16.03 - the UT Research Group of Physical Activity for Health gave recommendations in Õpetajate Leht on varied learning.
16.03 - Professor of Bioinformatics Jaak Vilo wrote about the corona science in Postimees.
17.03 - Professor emeritus of the Faculty of Science and Technology Ene-Margit Tiit discussed the lessons of coronavirus in Postimees.
20.03 - Postimees published an article by Professor Eero Vasar on the global pandemic and on what happens in the person's body when the coronavirus attacks.
20.03 - Professor Pärt Peterson gave an overview in Sirp about the spread of and fight against the coronavirus and the groups most at risk.
20.03 - Associate Professor of Practical Philosophy Kadri Simm wrote in ERR about pandemics and ethics.
21.03 - Professor Pärt Peterson wrote in Maaleht that medical solutions of the future may significantly improve the immune system of the elderly.
22.03 - Professor of Macroeconomics Raul Eamets spoke on Aktuaalne kaamera about the impact of the emergency situation on economy.
9 to 15 March
11.03 - virologist Andres Merits wrote in Eesti Ekspress that the corona pandemic can be avoided.
11.03 - Professor Irja Lutsar spoke in Pealtnägija about how quarantine can affect people.
13.03 - Professor of the UT School of Law Jaan Ginter wrote in Postimees about what is an emergency situation.
14.03 - Professor Irja Lutsar wrote in Postimees that the modern world is a paradise for the spread of viruses.