3 April 2020

Update #27 COVID-19

  PLEASE NOTE: these updates may contain outdated information. Please read the latest information.

Update #27, 3 April 2020: 16:20 uur

Over the past few weeks, we have kept you informed on a daily basis of all the steps that all of us together are taking at Maastricht University to deal with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. We deliberately choose the words ‘all of us together' because the Crisis Management Team (CMT) is very aware that all parts of the university are working hard every day to find solutions to the many issues we are facing.

We are finding those solutions more and more. At the same time, there is still a lot of ‘work in progress’—issues that require our attention but for which we do not yet have all the answers. This includes, for instance, taking care of the financial needs of students who lost their side jobs or taking care of PhD candidates who are worried about the disruption of their research planning. There are also issues such as how to deal with taking a leave of absence or the 'hard and/or soft' cuts in the education, etc. etc. These are all issues on which all of us together are working—with the support of the CMT—to find solutions, the consequences of which, however, will not always be easy or painless.

The coronavirus pandemic has serious, and sometimes very grave, personal and social effects. Our university world has also been hit hard by it. It is inspiring and encouraging to see how our community -all of us together—is meeting the challenges with perseverance and creativity, inventiveness and solidarity.

Eating healthy when working from home

The coronavirus pandemic keeps us all indoors more than we are used to. So how do you keep up your healthy lifestyle, with enough exercise and the right nutrition? The Dutch Voedingscentrum (Nutrition Centre)— an organisation that is fully funded by the Dutch government—provides scientific and independent information on a healthy, safe and sustainable diet (in Dutch). The site also offers specific coronavirus-related information, for example, about whether or not you should take certain dietary supplements.

UM SPORTS also keeps you fit at home!

Especially if your home workplace is not as optimally equipped as your workplace at UM, it is important to take regular exercise breaks. Luckily, UM SPORTS is now offering their Health & Fitness (H&F) sessions online, also for students! Those who sign up will receive a video with a new Health & Fitness session every Tuesday by email, which you can do at any time of the day, for a week. Interested? Send an email to health_fitness[at]maastrichtuniversity[dot]nl. You can find a sneak preview here

Everyone who is a member of UM SPORTS (students and employees) will be given access to 'FitSnacks.TV', an online platform with workouts such as ClubPower, Powerkick, Core & More, Zumba, Body & Mind, HIIT, Circuit Training and more! In addition to on-demand videos, there are also livestream workouts that you can follow from home. How do you get access? Send an email with your name and the instructions will be sent to you!

In addition to FitSnacks.TV, you can join the workouts by the UM-SPORT instructors. They will show you which workouts they do at home. This is ideal if you are looking for inspiration for your own workouts or as an exercise break between studying or working. Furthermore, UM SPORT makes YouTube videos and posts training schedules. These can be found on our Facebook page & Instagram, so keep an eye out for them!

For more information (in Dutch) about exercising at home, please visit this website. This is a government-funded organisation that offers (scientific) knowledge about exercise. In addition to information about the correct amount of daily exercise needed, for example, you will find various instruction videos (or apps) with exercises for each target group.

UM joins forces with European consortium in fight against the coronavirus

YUFE (Young Universities for the Future of Europe)—an alliance of European universities of which UM is a member—is fighting the scientific battle against the coronavirus.

COVID-19 is currently the biggest challenge to human health worldwide. There are still many questions about the origin, the genetic and molecular variations, and the diversity of its clinical manifestations. Twenty-nine leading European scientists from Italian, British, French, German, Spanish, Dutch and Austrian academic institutions, together with partners in Iran and China, have teamed up in a consortium and submitted a research proposal to the EU's Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) to tackle the challenge.

The GEFACOVID project will examine in detail all available data on the genetic manifestations and disease mechanisms of the virus, in order to identify biomarkers that confer susceptibility to virus infection increase the risk of life-threatening complications. This information will then be exploited to developed new therapeutics and diagnostics to be used in both the laboratory and clinic, with the ultimate goal to prevent further human losses.

The project is led by the Università degli Studi di Roma 'Tor Vergata'. UM’s participation in the consortium is being led by Harald Schmidt, Professor of Pharmacology and Personalised Medicine (FHML). This research project is also a great example of the added value of international university networks, as it has not only been initiated by a partner university of the YUFE (Young Universities for the future of Europe) alliance but is also integrating the scientific  expertise of several YUFE universities, including Maastricht.

The Living Lab in Ageing and Long-Term Care urgently needs help

As of today, the story series 'We’re open!' features an interview with Hilde Verbeek, Professor of Care Environments for Vulnerable Older People and scientific director of the Living Lab in Ageing and Long-Term Care in South Limburg (AWO-ZL). Together with other living labs for care for the elderly in the Netherlands, they are looking at the consequences of the virus on long-term care. This includes, for example, how often it occurs, how the disease profile develops, and what the consequences are for informal caregivers. Based on standard data and reports from crisis teams, they try to identify these types of questions, so that the ministry can use this information for its policy development. She welcomes the expansion of the testing policy as recently introduced by Rutte.