German focus on healthcare excellence pays off during corona crisis

The structure, organization, and funding of Germany’s healthcare system appears to have made the country one of the most able and efficient in dealing with the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak. What is more, the healthcare industry and basic research have a long tradition of cooperation that facilitated the rapid and effective deployment of the country’s Covid-19 testing capabilities.

Masks; GettyImages/Aleksandr Zubkov
© GettyImages/Aleksandr Zubkov

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI), a federal government agency responsible for responding to infectious disease, has been praised around the world for quickly launching a widespread testing and containment program. Within about ten days – by the end of March – Germany managed to triple the rate of testing to just over 500 thousand tests per week.

Experts here and abroad have attributed Germany’s ability to do this to basic research cooperating with the German public and private sectors to quickly develop a diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2. More than ten days before the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Germany, the German Center for Infection Research (ZDIF) at Berlin’s Charité Hospital said it had developed a laboratory test to detect the new coronavirus.

What is more, collaboration between TIB Molbiol, a Berlin-based biotechnology company, and virologists at the Charité was already well-underway ahead of the discovery. This paved the way for the creation by mid-March of four million test kits which went on to be used in Germany and around the world.
At the time the tests availability was announced, the director of the Charité’s Institute of Virology, Dr. Christian Drosten, said, “Now that this diagnostic test is widely available, I expect that it won’t be long before we are able to reliably diagnose suspected cases. This will also help scientists understand whether the virus is capable of spreading from human to human.”

Germany’s response to the coronavirus reflects how the country’s commitment to excellence in healthcare is benefitting patients at home and abroad. The export initiative for the German healthcare industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY, is the place interested individuals from abroad should look to learn more about this dynamic and innovative sector of the German economy.