Study of Individual-level progression of COVID-19 infection (COVIDprog)



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Population Health

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The aim of the national COVIDprog study is to investigate the impact of different individual factors on the course of coronavirus infection, particularly among those who develop the severe form of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Study objectives

The aim of the national COVIDprog study is to investigate the impact of different individual factors on the course of coronavirus infection, particularly among those who develope the severe form of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The study examines how the COVID-19 infection progresses in different individuals and what symptoms and complications (secondary diseases) it causes.

Major individual variation has been observed in the course of the respiratory infections caused by the new coronavirus. There is individual (including genetic) susceptibility to infections caused by bacteria and viruses and their associated diseases. This may be one explanation for the variation observed in the infectiousness of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) between individuals, for the progression of the infection and the secondary diseases and other harmful effects related to it. We also examine the prolonged symptoms of COVID-19, or the so-called long COVID, as a complication of COVID-19 that some of those infected may develop.

Potential individual-level factors that may affect the transmission and complications of the COVID-19 infection include:

  • age, gender, lifestyles
  • chronic diseases
  • medication(s)
  • genome
  • received treatment.

It is important to explore why some people develop a more severe form of the COVID-19 disease than others. The results of this study will be used to plan the future treatment and prevention of the COVID-19 infections.

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How is the study carried out?

The goal is to involve in the study more than 3000 persons who have sought hospital treatment or examinations due to respiratory symptoms, which may be caused by a COVID-19 infection. Also participants with milder respiratory symptoms will be recruited in the study. The control group will include persons tested negative for COVID-19.

Participation in the study is voluntary.

We ask participants to fill in a short health questionnaire in order to gather information about their general health and lifestyle.

A blood sample is collected from the participants and analysed in the laboratory to investigate the severity of the infection and general physiological homeostasis of the patient. A DNA sample is extracted from the blood sample to determine the possible effect of genetic factors on the course of the corona virus infection.

Further, health status of the study participants will be followed by medical records collected during the hospital treatment, including clinical measurements as well as laboratory and X-ray examinations as well as by acquiring access to relevant national registries, including:

  • the statutory registers of the National Institute for Health and Welfare (e.g. Care Register for Health Care, Finnish Cancer Registry, National Infectious Diseases Register, National Vaccination Register),
  • the registers of Statistics Finland (e.g. Causes of Death Information), and
  • the registers of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (e.g. Drug Reimbursement Register).


This study is led by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). The person responsible for the study is Research Professor Markus Perola. The COVIDprog study, led by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), is a national collaborative research project contributed by all Finnish university hospitals, Terveystalo, the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service, and FIMM Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (University of Helsinki). In addition, all the Finnish biobanks and the Finnish Biobank Cooperative FINBB are participating in this study.

Contact details

Email: [email protected]
Tel. 029 524 6245 (Tue–Thu 12.0014.00)

Markus Perola
MD, Research Professor
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)
Email: forename.surname