30 October 2020

New COVID-19 Research to Identify the Most Vulnerable Groups and Consequences for Pregnant Women


Which groups are most vulnerable to COVID-19? Which late complications can those infected with the disease expect? And which risks do pregnant women contracting COVID-19 face? Two new research projects at the University of Copenhagen, among others, seek to answer these questions.


The COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing throughout the world. The large number of people infected, ill and dead places great demands on researchers, who must produce new knowledge about the disease. Two new projects with the participation of researchers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen seek to do just that.

One of the two projects is headed by Professor Morten Andersen from the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology. The aim of this project is to identify the risk factors of severe COVID-19 and the most vulnerable groups using data from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Scotland.

Professor Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen from the Department of Public Health is one of the prime movers behind the other research project, which will study COVID-19 among pregnant women. Among other things, they seek to determine whether pregnant women contracting COVID-19 face higher risks, whether the disease causes more complications during pregnancy, and whether it affects the health of the child.

The two projects have received DKK 10 million in funding from NordForsk, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ research funding programme.

COVID-19 in Pregnant Women

Based on a precautionary principle, a lot of countries have included pregnant women on the list of the population groups most vulnerable to COVID-19. But the truth is that we still have little knowledge of how the disease affects pregnant women and their children.

Therefore, researchers will now study these groups using the excellent health data available in the Scandinavian countries. The research project is headed by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and the University of Copenhagen plays a key role.

‘Pregnant women are protected in connection with the pandemic. But unfortunately we still have little data on how the disease affects their future children and whether the pregnancy affects the COVID-19 patient course for pregnant women. We are trying to change that now using data from three Scandinavian countries that have followed different paths in relation to the pandemic’, Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen explains.

COVID-19, the Disease

A lot of COVID-19 research focusses on developing new treatments or a vaccine. But in order to manage the pandemic, it is also important to understand the disease itself and the course of illness.

Therefore, a research group headed by the University of Copenhagen will now use large amounts of data to map the risk factors of severe COVID-19 (where those infected end up in hospital, intensive care or dead).

‘Our mappings of risk factors should make it possible to determine more precisely which groups are the most vulnerable – also with regard to late complications. Such knowledge may facilitate more precise and thus better management of the disease’, says Morten Andersen.

Read more on NordForsk’s website



Professor Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen
+45 30 28 04 62

Professor Morten Andersen
+45 35 33 35 06

Communications Consultant Mathias Traczyk
+45 93 56 58 35