Analysis and advice

Scientific Advisory Panel
COVID-19

The Scientific Advisory Panel  COVID-19 provides independent analysis and advice on behalf of the Swiss federal government and the cantons during the current phase of the coronavirus pandemic. The panel’s expert knowledge allows it to develop various scenarios for political action on the basis of scientific analyses of the situation. New scientific findings are taken into account in this process, as are existing uncertainties and different social values.

Reports & News​

On how to handle COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses in the future

With increased immunity in the population, the public health burden of SARS-CoV-2 has decreased significantly. However, other respiratory pathogens are circulating with greater intensity following on from the contact restrictions phase. Since the various respiratory pathogens SARS-CoV-2, influenza and RSV, followed by Streptococcus pneumoniae, H. influenzae and Group A streptococcal infections, are circulating, both hospitals and GP and paediatric practices are still struggling with a heavy burden. In view of this situation, we must ask ourselves how the future surveillance of respiratory viruses and other pathogens should be structured. Depending on how this question is answered, the social, medical and political approach to these pathogens may also change accordingly.

Covid-19: Bund und Kantone wollen weiterhin eng mit der Wissenschaft zusammenarbeiten

[Unfortunately this content is not available in English] Um die Kantone und den Bund auch nach Auflösung der Swiss National Covid-19 Science Task Force mit wissenschaftlicher Expertise zu unterstützen, wird ein neues wissenschaftliches Beratungsgremium für die Covid-19 Pandemie eingesetzt. Die Gesundheitsdirektorenkonferenz, das Eidgenössische Departement des Innern und das Staatssekretariat für Bildung und Forschung und Innovation haben eine entsprechende Vereinbarung mit dem ETH-Rat abgeschlossen. Das Beratungsgremium steht unter dem Vorsitz von Tanja Stadler, Professorin an der ETH Zürich und umfasst 14 Mitglieder aus unterschiedlichen Institutionen und Fachbereichen. Das Mandat läuft vorläufig bis Ende Juni 2023.

On how to handle COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses in the future

With increased immunity in the population, the public health burden of SARS-CoV-2 has decreased significantly. However, other respiratory pathogens are circulating with greater intensity following on from the contact restrictions phase. Since the various respiratory pathogens SARS-CoV-2, influenza and RSV, followed by Streptococcus pneumoniae, H. influenzae and Group A streptococcal infections, are circulating, both hospitals and GP and paediatric practices are still struggling with a heavy burden. In view of this situation, we must ask ourselves how the future surveillance of respiratory viruses and other pathogens should be structured. Depending on how this question is answered, the social, medical and political approach to these pathogens may also change accordingly.

Covid-19: Bund und Kantone wollen weiterhin eng mit der Wissenschaft zusammenarbeiten

[Unfortunately this content is not available in English] Um die Kantone und den Bund auch nach Auflösung der Swiss National Covid-19 Science Task Force mit wissenschaftlicher Expertise zu unterstützen, wird ein neues wissenschaftliches Beratungsgremium für die Covid-19 Pandemie eingesetzt. Die Gesundheitsdirektorenkonferenz, das Eidgenössische Departement des Innern und das Staatssekretariat für Bildung und Forschung und Innovation haben eine entsprechende Vereinbarung mit dem ETH-Rat abgeschlossen. Das Beratungsgremium steht unter dem Vorsitz von Tanja Stadler, Professorin an der ETH Zürich und umfasst 14 Mitglieder aus unterschiedlichen Institutionen und Fachbereichen. Das Mandat läuft vorläufig bis Ende Juni 2023.

Experts

The members of the panel represent a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines. They are very well-connected in their fields and draw on further expertise from their networks as needed.

Tanja Stadler is an expert on molecular epidemiology. Since April 2020, her team sequences and analyses SARS-CoV-2 samples (link) detecting and tracking new variants (link). Furthermore, her team calculates the reproductive number of COVID-19 for Switzerland and 180 countries since the start of the pandemic (link).

Tanja Stadler is an expert on molecular epidemiology. Since April 2020, her team sequences and analyses SARS-CoV-2 samples (link) detecting and tracking new variants (link). Furthermore, her team calculates the reproductive number of COVID-19 for Switzerland and 180 countries since the start of the pandemic (link).

Jacques Fellay is a medical doctor and researcher, specialist in infectious diseases, human genomics and data science. He studies the genetic factors involved in immune regulation and response to infection by various pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2.

Alexandra Calmy is a medical doctor in internal medicine and in infectious diseases. Her research interest focuses on public health and humanitarian response to HIV/AIDS. She was co-chair of the COVID-19 Federal Commission on clinical care in Switzerland, is involved since 2020 in the COVID-19 response providing expertise on treatments, and, also participates in the coordination of care and treatment of patients suffering from a Monkeypox infection.

Alain Di Gallo is a medical doctor specialised in child and adolescent psychiatry. As medical director of the Clinic for Children and Adolescents of the University Psychiatric Clinics Basel and co-president of the Swiss Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, he has been dealing clinically and scientifically with the psychological consequences for the youngest generation since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Caspar Hirschi is an expert on scientific advisory procedures. He examined the expertise provided to governments in several crises (link, link) and co-authored a report for the Swiss Science Council on the role of science advisory bodies during the acute phase of the corona pandemic (link). He will serve this committee in developing viable policy options under conditions of epistemic uncertainty and value pluralism.

Samia Hurst-Majno is an expert for biomedical ethics. She is based at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Geneva, where she chairs the Institute for Ethics, History and the Department of Community Health and Medicine. She is a member of the Senate at the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics. Her research focuses on ethical issues arising in clinical practice, health care systems, and public health, with a particular focus on the protection of vulnerable persons.

Urs Karrer is a medical doctor specialized in infectious diseases with additional experience in clinical microbiology and virology. He has a long-standing research interest in antiviral immunity and vaccines. He served as an internal and external adviser for COVID-19 related health strategies since the beginning of the pandemic.

Sean Müller is an expert on Swiss politics. He works on the pros and cons of federalism and its link with (direct) democracy, in general, and cantonal and communal governance, in particular.

Richard Neher is an expert in the evolution of RNA viruses with a particular focus on antigenic evolution and immune escape. He is co-founder of the platform nextstrain.org, that is used worldwide for new real-time analysis of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus evolution and spread.

Mayssam Nehme is a medical doctor who is board-certified in internal medicine. She led the CoviCare program at the Geneva University Hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, for remote follow-up and outpatient care of patients with COVID-19. She currently coordinates the post-COVID consultation. Further, she participates in a randomized controlled trial, several research projects on post-COVID, and RAFAEL the online information platform on post-COVID.

Milo Puhan is an expert in epidemiology and public health. Since April 2020, he led the Corona Immunitas research program and the Zurich based studies Ciao Corona and the Zurich Coronvirus and Vaccination cohort studies. These studies provide evidence on population immunity in Switzerland, the burden from Long Covid and several other public health aspects of the pandemic.

Jan-Egbert Sturm is an expert on macroeconomics. Since the beginning of the pandemic, he and KOF, the economic research institute he heads, have continuously analysed and reported on the economic consequences of the pandemic.

Sarah Tschudin Sutter is a medical doctor who is board-certified in general internal medicine and infectious diseases. She is head of the Division of Hospital Hygiene within the Clinic for Infectious Diseases & Hospital Hygiene and is deputy chief physician at the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland. Her area of research is in infection prevention and control.

Volker Thiel is an expert in coronavirus biology working since the 1990s on basic aspects of coronavirus replication, immune responses and virus-host interactions. Since 2014 he is leading the division Virology at the Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) in Bern and Mittelhäusern and is chair in Virology at the Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern. He is member of the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) of the WHO.

Contact

Do you have any questions or comments about the Scientific Advisory Panel COVID-19?

Media enquiries
Gian Casutt
gian.casutt@ethrat.ch

Information
ETH Board
kommunikation@ethrat.ch