“Our vaccine will protect people from the current and future coronavirus outbreaks”

Matti Trials a Covid-19 vaccine that could also protect us from other coronaviruses Sweden, Stockholm

With Covid-19 making headlines over the past three months, it would be easy to forget how the virus is just one member of a much larger family. The real question, beyond the end of containment, is the following: How can we ensure that a vaccine will also be effective against future coronavirus outbreaks? Professor Matti Sällberg has been aiming to answer this question since early April, when his team received EU funding under the OPENCORONA project. “The design of our vaccine is unique. Unlike the vast majority of clinical trials which focus solely on the spike protein, our treatment also contains other relevant proteins which are less specific to Covid-19. The idea is to make it futureproof”, he explains. A phase 1 clinical trial is already planned and will take place at the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden. 3 million EUR has been allocated to the Karolinska Institute by the EU for research as part of the OPENCORONA project.

“Language Buddy Online has already matched 2 100 people learning Swedish across the country”

Natassia Provides immigrants with an opportunity to learn Swedish through video chats with volunteers Sweden, Stockholm

Since 2013, NGO Kompis Sverige (Buddy Sweden) has connected over 19 500 new residents with Swedish communities through social activities, workshops and its Buddy-programme. Language Buddy Online was born from their realisation that, in the context of Covid-19, immigrants studying Swedish were left without a large part of their social life. In less than 48 hours, Buddy Sweden found a remedy in the form of a new online programme. “People who are in the process of learning Swedish are matched with someone who speaks it fluently, so that they can meet and get to know each other through video calls. The purpose is to provide enhanced language training as well as to ease social isolation for everyone,” says Natassia, Co-Founder of Kompis Sverige. People can apply on the dedicated website to be matched with their new buddies and over 3,000 people have signed up so far.

“I realised that this was my chance to give back to the community”

Edward Works in a pop-up barber truck outside Stockholm’s biggest hospital Sweden, Stockholm

Sometimes, wearing a protective mask can be uncomfortable. In particular, medical staff working long shifts find that if they do not have time to shave, the masks do not sit close to their skin and can cause irritation. Alerted to this problem by a client who is a nurse, Al, the owner of Honest Al's Barbershop in Stockholm, decided to come up with a solution. He brought his barber truck to the hospital to give the staff beard trims and shaves, free of charge. "It's not just a shave, it's a quiet moment that allows these people to relax - they spend all day in a warzone and that time to yourself makes a difference", explained Al. The initiative was so well received that he called upon the services of a competitor with his own barbershop to offer additional support at another hospital. "We've become closer through this, and we're planning to open a new barbershop together! It just goes to show the incredible power compassion and joy have to transform our relationships with others."

“There is no shortage of Swedes' willingness to help others in need”

Mattis and Oskar Started a website to match helpers with people in need of help Sweden, Stockholm

In troubled times, a little help can make a big difference to fellow human beings who are unable to perform their everyday tasks. This applies not only to high risk groups that should be in self-isolation, but also to those who must stay quarantined due to existing underlying health issues. Mattis and Oskar wanted to create contact between such people who need help, and people who want to help. Karantänsamverkan (Quarantine Cooperation) is their platform that aims to help people in isolation by offering them a safe and easy way to get in touch with others who can assist them. The non-profit project was started by the two brothers and their friend Simon Ström. The simplicity of getting involved is evident on the website - there are only two buttons on the first page, one that says "I need help" and a second that says "I would like to help". By entering your postal code you are matched with people close to you and, so far, 1 000 people have signed up as volunteers.

“We can only win the battle against this invisible enemy through science, technology, entrepreneurial mindset and human bravery”

Mouna Working on the first COVID-19 antibody test in Sweden Sweden, Stockholm

After surviving a dramatic journey as a refugee, Dr. Mouna is recognized today as one of the most distinguished professionals in the medical technology industry in Sweden. She is a medical doctor, neuroscientist, entrepreneur and TV personality. Dr. Mouna has been a pioneer in the field of preventive and personalized medicine. In the fight against Covid, she has been one of the initiators of a private initiative introducing the first COVID-19 antibody test in Sweden. This test has been scientifically validated by the Akademiska University Hospital and Uppsala University in Sweden.

“The great minds of tomorrow are stuck at home, so we gathered the great minds of today to help”

Sophie and Måns Provide free support in science related subjects to middle and high school pupils Sweden, Stockholm

As a parent, it is no easy task helping your children with math or physics during school closures. There does, however, exist a great deal of expertise in society among students, teachers, and other enthusiasts. Therefore, Sophie and Måns got the idea to form DoTheMath, a volunteering network consisting of all these kindhearted people wanting to help. They now have over 1700 volunteers, who have helped thousands of pupils already. If you're interested in starting a similar initiative in your own country, reach out to press@dothemath.se, and they will help you get started.

“When we found out that healthcare sector was suffering from a lack of hand sanitizer we simply decided to scale up, adapt our production, and help”

Anna Donates ethanol to help make more hand sanitiser Sweden, Åhus

You may know the Absolut Company best for its Swedish vodka. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, it is now diverting its resources to hand sanitiser production. Absolut has given ethanol to KiiltoClean Ab — a cleaning company operating across Eastern Europe — to help make sure Swedish medical staff get the hand sanitiser they need. All across Europe, we’ve seen companies changing the way they work to support the fight against coronavirus.