RIVM is conducting research in various ways to monitor the spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This enables us to keep a close eye on how the coronavirus develops and to see if any changes occur. An overview of the COVID-19 research conducted by RIVM is provided below.

Air quality and COVID-19

RIVM will be researching whether air quality affects the course and severity of COVID-19 in the Netherlands.

Research on air quality and COVID-19

Applying behavioural science to COVID-19

Human behaviour is important in gaining control of COVID-19. By researching behaviour and health, RIVM gains insights that can help people keep following the recommendations and rules.

Research on behavioural science and COVID-19

Coronavirus monitoring in sewage

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 enters the sewage system via human faeces. Coronavirus monitoring in sewage enables early detection, making it possible for RIVM to map the spread of the virus.

Research on SARS-CoV-2 in sewage

Families and young people (First Few Hundred Study)

RIVM is carrying out research among families in the Netherlands where someone has contracted the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. We want to find out more about the course of the disease.  

Research on families and young people.

How the coronavirus spreads indoors

RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment   and UMC Groningen will be measuring how the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 spreads in an indoor space. The study will also look at how far the virus can spread and whether the virus particles are still contagious over longer distances.

Research on how the coronavirus spreads indoors.

Immunity to COVID-19

How does the human immune system respond after a SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2? RIVM is conducting various studies on this topic.

Research on immunity to COVID-19 after illness or vaccination

Indirect effects of COVID-19 on health and healthcare

The COVID-19 epidemic and the measures to control the virus have led to major shifts in healthcare. RIVM is mapping out these effects.

Research on indirect effects of COVID-19 on health and healthcare

Infection Radar

Using an Infection Radar (based on a weekly survey), RIVM monitors whether people in the Netherlands have symptoms that could indicate an infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. (Results only available in Dutch.)

Research on national monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms

Long COVID Study

RIVM is researching how many people who get COVID-19 still have symptoms in the longer term, exactly what those symptoms are, and how serious they are.

Research on Long COVID

Monitoring stations at GP practices

The Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (Nivel) is working with RIVM on screening for people with flu-like symptoms. Working together, they are running tests at 40 General Practitioner (GP) practices to see how often these symptoms occur and which viruses are causing these symptoms. 

Research through monitoring stations at GP practices

Older people living at home and the impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 epidemic and the related measures affect everyone. That includes older people living at home. RIVM is taking stock of how they are doing.

Research on COVID-19 impact on older people living at home

Pathogen Surveillance

Different variants (mutations) of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 have been circulating in the Netherlands since spring of 2020. RIVM is conducting laboratory research to see how the virus is changing and what this means for the spread of the virus in the Netherlands. 

Research on pathogen surveillance

Prevention & care in the context of broader issues in society

In collaboration with the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), RIVM periodically publishes a summary of research results from studies related to COVID-19 in the field of prevention & care and broader issues in society.

Research on prevention & care in the context of broader issues in society

Q fever and COVID-19

RIVM is researching whether people who previously had Q fever have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

Research on Q-fever and COVID-19

Risk factors for COVID-19 (CONTEST study)

Why do some people become ill from the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 while others do not? This and other risk factors for COVID-19 are being investigated by RIVM in collaboration with GGD-GHOR.

Research on risk factors for COVID-19

Transmission  at primary schools

It is likely that children transmit the new variants of SARS-CoV-2 somewhat faster and more frequently. How much faster and more frequently? We do not know enough about this yet. To find out more, RIVM is researching how the virus spreads at primary schools.

Research on transmission at primary schools

Vaccine-induced protection against severe illness

RIVM is also monitoring vaccine effectiveness in preventing illness (COVID-19), transmission of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and hospital and ICU admission.

Research on vaccine-induced protection against severe illness

More COVID-19 research in the Netherlands

RIVM is not alone in its efforts; many research studies on COVID-19 are being conducted in the Netherlands outside RIVM. An overview can be found on the FMS website. Also, new research programmes on COVID-19 have been set up with the help of government grants.  See the website of the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) for more information about the ZonMw COVID-19 programme.

COVID-19 research in EU projects 


UMC Utrecht, Utrecht University, RIVM , the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb and research institute PHARMO are involved in the European project ACCESS (Vaccine COVID-19 monitoring ReadinESS). Read more.

PANDEM-2 project

RIVM and Radboud University Medical Centre are collaborating on the PANDEM-2 project. This project aims to increase and strengthen preparedness for and response to future pandemics. In that context, sharing information and collaborating are very important in order to protect the health and safety of people across the European Union. The PANDEM-2 project is funded by the European Union through Horizon 2020. The team from the Netherlands includes experts from Radboudumc and RIVM. Read the Radboudumc press release (in Dutch).