Treatment and diagnosis

The COVID-19 programme includes research into the treatment and diagnosis of COVID-19. The research focuses on various topics, such as treatment by medical specialists, treatment in general practice and the initial and further development of innovations. This page lists all topics and the projects looking into them.


Specialist medical care

The Federation of Medical Specialists (Federatie Medisch Specialisten, FMS) drafted a knowledge agenda in 2021 setting out the key questions relating to COVID-19. It was updated several times during the pandemic. Studies on the treatment and optimum care of COVID-19 patients have been awarded funding on the basis of the knowledge agenda. The studies aim to fill the most important gaps in the knowledge, in order to advance the treatment of COVID-19. Read about the studies of treatment by medical specialists that have received funding. 

General practice

During the pandemic, many GPs saw patients with medical problems caused by COVID-19. At the moment, it is not clear what early treatments might prevent severe illness. The GRIP3 project is examining what home treatments might be suitable for COVID-19. It is also working on helping GPs to encourage patients to take part in scientific research. Read more about the GRIP3 project.

Key technologies

Initial and further development of innovative key technologies is needed to improve treatment for and methods of arresting progression of COVID-19, and to prepare the Netherlands for future pandemics. The projects focus on various phases of the innovation process, and help with things like finding new starting points for therapy development and validation of therapies. Public-private partnership is appropriate for later stages of the innovation process to scale up application and create a knowledge infrastructure for pandemic preparedness. Read more about the projects.


After a COVID-19 infection some patients experience symptoms of long COVID (also known as post-COVID). It is currently unclear how long COVID can be treated, so a number of projects are looking, among other things, at long COVID treatment. Read more about these projects.

Drug treatments

Several projects have been launched to identify medication that is suitable for treating COVID-19 infection. These projects are exploring whether treating COVID-19 patients with medication, including antibodies, is effective. Read more about the treatment studies.

Mechanism and clinical course

In order to offer suitable treatment, it is important to understand how a COVID-19 infection comes about and how it progresses. Topics being studied include what factors increase the likelihood of admission to intensive care and what impact obesity has on the course of COVID-19.  Read more about the studies on the mechanism and clinical course of COVID-19.

Vaccine studies

The COVID-19 programme also includes research into the optimum use of COVID-19 vaccines. Some of these studies are examining how vaccination can help with the treatment of COVID-19. Read more about COVID-19 vaccination.

Animal-free innovation

Results obtained through animal testing do not automatically translate to humans. ZonMw has therefore been encouraging the development of animal-free innovations for 20 years. Its ‘More Knowledge with Fewer Animals’ (MKMD) programme includes research into COVID-19 without the use of animal testing. Read more about the five MKMD projects.

Diagnosing infection

Studies on the diagnosis of infection have focused, among other things, on the development of a method to detect COVID-19 infection. Read more about studies on diagnosing coronavirus infection.