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NAKO health study resumes investigations

2020-07-01 / After a three-month corona break, the 18 NAKO study centres are gradually opening their doors again for participants in July. The study operation at the MDC will start on July 6, 2020.

Due to the pandemic in Germany, the NAKO Health Study had temporarily closed its study centers for test persons and visitors. This preventive measure was meant to protect employees and participants. The study center Berlin-Nord also stopped inviting paticipants. With the gradual easing of the restrictions in public life, a controlled resumption of the scientific investigation and thus the continuation of the follow-up investigation is now possible.

"The time of the shutdown was used for important projects", says Dr. Kerstin Wirkner, Study Center Director in Leipzig and spokeswoman for the NAKO Study Center Directors. "For example, a new survey instrument, the COVID 19 survey, was developed. In addition, we have prepared our staff for the new challenges, trained them well and developed a concept that - in accordance with the local hygiene and disinfection plans and the SARS-CoV-2 guidelines of the NAKO member institutions - enables us to define necessary protective measures and implement them in all 18 study centers".

What has changed for the participants

Hygiene and disinfection measures have been part of the study since the beginning of the NAKO. In order to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV2 virus, these have now been expanded and tightened. In the NAKO study centers, a minimum distance of 1.5 meters applies between participants, guests and employees. Wearing a mouth and nose protector is mandatory. These safety precautions, which are now common, are supplemented by more stringent hygiene measures: These include additional partition walls and Plexiglas walls, e.g. at reception, as well as the repeated daily disinfection of all contact surfaces. The examination personnel wear work and protective clothing, which is changed at prescribed intervals, and the rooms are cleaned and ventilated in accordance with appropriate quality standards.

New for the participants are the additional questioning according to SARS-CoV-2 related exclusion criteria when making an appointment and the COVID-19 self-assessment on the day of the examination. Individual questions and concerns of NAKO subjects are discussed in advance by telephone in order to be able to implement any further measures that may be necessary to protect the participants* and the study center staff.

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