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Aarhus professor to head European coronavirus research project

Trine Hyrup Mogensen Photo Jann Zeiss Health AU

Professor Trine Hyrup Mogensen from Aarhus University will study why some people suffer from serious COVID-19 infections, while others do not become ill at all, even when exposed to massive infection.

Hyrup Mogensen, who is a professor at the Department of Biomedicine and a medical doctor at the Department of Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital, will head a major European research project which will, in collaboration with the global consortium COVID Human Genetic Effort, carry out research into why some people develop severe infections which lead to lung damage, or in some cases autoimmune diseases several weeks after they have been ill with SARS-CoV-2. And why some people experience side effects immediately after vaccination against the coronavirus, while others do not get symptoms, even though they have been exposed to infection or have virus in the body.

The research project has received DKK 50 million from the Horizon Europe programme.

Genetic and immunological analyses of samples

Hyrup Mogensen surmises that genetics plays an important role and influences the immune system’s ability to detect viruses, activate the immune response, and store this in the body’s immunological memory ready for the next time the organism encounters the same virus. In the Aarhus University-based Danish section of the DKK 50 million project, Trine and her colleagues will perform genetic and immunological analyses of samples from children and adults with COVID-19, autoimmune diseases, or long-term complications.

“According to Hyrup Mogensen, we can become much better at predicting who has an increased risk of suffering a serious, long-term course of illness, and thus also improve early individualized prevention and treatment of COVID-19.”

According to Hyrup Mogensen, we can become much better at predicting who has an increased risk of suffering a serious, long-term course of illness, and thus also improve early individualized prevention and treatment of COVID-19, if we can gain a better understanding of the disease mechanisms and the significance of the genetic and immunological components for viral infections such as COVID-19. This knowledge would be a biomedical breakthrough that would also be beneficial for society when new corona waves or other viral pandemics occur, she says.

Photo of Trine Hyrup Mogensen: Jann Zeiss, Health AU