“We are using our EU-funded research to work on a new coronavirus test”

Maarten Developed a new type of rapid test The Netherlands, Eindhoven

Thanks to EU support, Professor Maarten Merkx from the Technical University of Eindhoven has developed a new type of rapid test which detects virus antibodies in the blood via light-emitting proteins. He is now working to apply the same method to coronavirus. The power of his approach is that the test can be done directly in blood, and the signal can be detected with the camera of a smart phone. Part of his project is also to develop a paper-based strip that contains the same testing components - he calls it ‘glow-in-the-dark’ paper-based diagnostics. When a person has viral antibodies, it means that they have already had the disease or been exposed to the virus, information which could be very useful in containing the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. This sort of rapid antibody testing is therefore crucial for those who work with vulnerable people, but also to help all of us decide whether we should visit loved ones in high risk groups or plan our return to work.

“The EU is funding our research to detect and contain virus outbreaks”

Marion Leads an EU-backed project developing techniques to spot and track new infectious diseases The Netherlands, Rotterdam

Europe’s best scientific minds are coming together to fight the spread of coronavirus and prepare for future pandemics. Professor Marion Koopmans has dedicated her career to understanding viruses like COVID-19 as head of the viroscience department at Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam. Professor Koopmans expects outbreaks like the one we’re experiencing to become more common in the future because of the growing human population and changes in the climate and the way we use land. That’s why her work focuses on making sure we're better prepared. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, her team is translating genetic data about the virus into tools we can use against it. This includes rapid diagnostic tests, trying to understand how widespread the virus is and whether there is already some immunity in the population. Prof. Koopmans is also one of the experts advising the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Europe-wide actions to contain and manage the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am proud I can still transport goods across Europe thanks to EU Green Lanes”

Fred Delivers essential goods across EU Member States thanks to EU Green Lanes The Netherlands, Utrecht

Internal EU borders may be closed, but you may have seen some trucks crossing them occasionally. Did you know that Europe relies on these trucks to transport food and essential goods for onward distribution and sale? Fred is one of the thousands of truck drivers we all depend on. His hard work keeps our shops stocked and prevents hospitals from running short of vital equipment. Fred’s journeys are made easier by the European Union. On 23 March, the European Commission asked Member States to allow all freight vehicles to pass checks and health screenings within 15 minutes. It also provided advice on how to best protect transport workers from COVID-19.

“Active learning is very important. Where better to practice this than in your own home?”

Annieke Developed a home learning method for primary school children The Netherlands, Nijensleek

Annieke Otten teaches at the De Bron primary school in Nijensleek and wanted to turn confinement into an opportunity to make learning at home more effective for parents and children. So she has developed her own online teaching method: "The learning challenge". This home learning method became a nationwide success. On the basis of games, puzzles and quests, the method helps children with languages and arithmetic. Children learn fractions with the help of orange segments, they learn to count by collecting coins and they develop language skills by looting all products with an 'S' from the pantry. The Facebook and Instagram pages "Learning Challenge" are available online and Annieke publishes a language and math assignment four times a week. The assignments are picked up nationally by different teachers.

“The saying ´it takes a village to raise a child´, is absolutely true”

Klinton Organises online physical activities to keep children active and engaged The Netherlands, Utrecht

Our children are the future of our countries and of Europe. Therefore, it is essential that they receive proper education. Teachers in the Netherlands, like Klinton, are organising online activities that children and their parents can do together. Not only does this keep the children active, but it also unites the family. As education is a priority for so many, the EU has provided online material for anyone to access. Time at home can be an outstanding opportunity to connect with family members, as well as to try new things together. Teachers in Member States, like Klinton, are working hard to keep their students interested and challenged.

“As a business with the means to contribute, it is our duty to help however we can”

Arno Switched his distillery’s production to disinfectant to support the medical sector The Netherlands, Groningen

Hooghoudt is a family distillery in Groningen, the Netherlands. Being part of the community since 1888, they saw it as their duty to help their city fight the pandemic. Their idea came from master distiller Frank Leystra: seeing how difficult it was for medical professionals to acquire disinfectant, he decided to produce it himself right in the distillery. The first orders are from Ambulance Care Groningen and TSN Home Care, and the family business has also been in contact with Groningen's University Medical Center. An unprecedented crisis calls for unprecedented responses just like these. An emergency €750 billion stimulus package will ease the impact of the virus, while €37 billion in European Union funding is already helping save lives, jobs and businesses.

“The applause we receive is truly heart-warming, and the support we get for doing our job is really amazing”

Jan Reinforces the teams fighting the pandemic The Netherlands, Leiderdorp

Jan is a general practitioner who has been working shifts in the Corona department at his hospital in Leiderdorp. Though it's currently quite calm for Jan and his colleagues, they expect their workload to increase dramatically in the coming weeks. The support demonstrated by the local population to the medical workers, clapping from their windows and balconies every night, really touches them and gives them the courage to face the hardships to come. While we might not all be medical professionals, showing European solidarity can be done by anyone and helps those working on the front lines to stay strong.