Strategy instead of pandemic

Safety through saliva testing for COVID-19 combined with questionnaires for work, travel and cultural events

The classic swab tests are time-consuming, require trained personnel and can hardly be repeated regularly. However, the opposite is true for PCR analyses with pooling from self-collected saliva samples. Combined with questionnaires on risk circumstances, this creates a continuous, customised risk analysis for the respective context. As a work package in B-FAST, the UMM is testing such concrete solution strategies in the pandemic for work environments, cultural events and travel. B-FAST is a sub-project of the University Medicine Network on COVID-19.

The classic swab tests are time-consuming, require trained personnel and can hardly be repeated regularly. However, the opposite is true for PCR analyses with pooling from self-collected saliva samples. Combined with questionnaires on risk circumstances, this creates a continuous, customised risk analysis for the respective context. As a work package in B-FAST, the UMM is testing such concrete solution strategies in the pandemic for work environments, cultural events and travel. B-FAST is a sub-project of the University Medicine Network on COVID-19.

Part of the University Medicine Network to combat COVID-19

Germany-wide association of 25 university hospitals

Head of Work Package 6: UMM & UKK

Prof. Dr. Joachim E. Fischer from the University Medical Centre Mannheim and Prof. Dr. Oliver Cornely from the University Hospital Cologne lead the work package "Risk areas" within the framework of B-FAST

UMM focus on 3 areas: Work environment, cultural events, travel

Development and implementation of test strategies for a wide range of applications

Governance structure B-FAST

B-FAST UMM as a sub-project in B-FAST

The overarching project B-FAST (Bundesweites Forschungsnetz Angewandte Surveillance (Überwachung) und Testung) is a project of the National Research Network of Universitymedicine Research Network (NUM) in Germany, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), to contribute to the management of the Corona pandemic (COVID-19). The primary goal of B-FAST is to develop a surveillance and testing strategy that is sustainable, scalable and transferable to future pandemics, and to test it in different application areas (e.g. schools and day-care centres, precarious housing, cultural events, clinics, etc.). Thus, the combination of non-medical and medical measures (e.g. tests) should largely contain the spread of the pandemic pathogen.

The first step is to establish a central structure and coordination between university hospitals, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and other public and non-public partners to exchange and merge structured data sets. In order to control the Corona pandemic (COVID-19) in the long term, new infections are to be recorded early and chains of infection uncovered at an early stage. In addition, patient care and crisis management are to be supported quickly and directly by new findings.

While the primary focus is on containing the current COVID-19 pandemic, the B-FAST network aims to establish an overarching surveillance and testing strategy for future pandemics in a long-term and adaptable manner.

Within the framework of work package 6 (risk areas) of B-FAST, the University Medical Centre Mannheim (UMM) is focusing on the development of solution concepts for the areas of working environment, cultural events and travel (B-FAST UMM). 

Risk areas

Within the framework of B-FAST, work package 6 "Risk areas" (headed by Prof. O. Cornely, Cologne; Prof. J. Fischer, Mannheim) is looking for strategies for different risk areas during the pandemic. 

Basically, the Corona pandemic (COVID-19) in Germany occurred primarily in five areas, with the spread in the past preferentially through asymptomatic or oligosymptomatic infected persons: nursing homes, residential situations, cultural events, work, travel. 

In Mannheim, specific projects for cultural events, work and travel are being implemented as part of work package 6 of B-FAST.

B-FAST
Strategie B-FAST

Strategy development

The piloting of strategies in the above-mentioned risk areas is the primary goal of this network of researchers at the University Medical Centres in Berlin, Bochum, Göttingen, Cologne, Lübeck, Mainz, Mannheim and Marburg, as well as the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen.

Furthermore, the measurement and modelling of the dispersion of human aerosols and droplets should enable the development of situation-specific recommendations for measures (Z-Projekt). 

Project partner

The Mannheim Institute for Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine (MIPH) works with the following project partners to implement the project activities in the individual areas. 

Network B-FAST

25 German university hospitals are working together in the B-FAST project to contain the Corona pandemic. 

Netzwerk Universitätsmedizin

Team B-FAST UMM

The team at the Mannheim Institute for Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine supporting the BAST project consists of the following people:

Prof. Dr.
Joachim E. Fischer

Director, Project Management
B-FAST UMM


Bertil Baron

Data Analyst
B-FAST UMM


Christine Neumann

Research Associate, Project Coordination B-FAST UMM

Manuel Plew

Research Associate, cultural events

Maren Scupin

Chief Client Officer,
Working environment

Dr. Michaela Weber

Research Associate, travel, publications

Simon Heim

Student Assistant

Zoe Lichnock

Student Assistant

Marietta Ostendorf

Student Assistant

Anna Fee Wefelmeier

Student Assistant

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