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LETTER: ENGLISH VERSION

Dear Sir or Madam,

Corona has probably affected your life and that of your loved ones for far too long.

We want to try a new uncomplicated method for continuous testing of the general population. If successful, this would prevent new large-scale restrictions. You / members of your household were randomly selected as potential participants and we would be very happy if you would support us in this project. Of course, participation is voluntary. However, the results are only meaningful if as many people as possible participate, so your participation is very important to us.

What should you do?

We ask you to fill out the questionnaire following the 5 steps listed below.

  1. Please read the enclosed information brochure. If you are a minor, please read the section for minors (ages 12-16 years). If your child has been selected for the test, he or she should read the appropriate section for children (ages 7-11 years). Please then talk to your child about the study and ask your child if he or she would like to participate in the study.
  2. If your child has been selected for the test, we ask you to provide information about COVID-19-specific symptoms of your child. If you have been selected for the test, we ask you to provide information about your COVID-19 symptoms.
  3. Please fill out the enclosed questionnaire (together with your child) or go to www.virus-finder.de. For the online questionnaire, please use the access code at the top right of the cover letter.
  4. If you have filled out the paper questionnaire, please send it to us by mail (free of charge) in the enclosed return envelope.

    2. Step: Collecting saliva samples
  5. If you/your child have/has any symptoms which coronavirus infection, we will contact you with another letter. In this second letter, either you or all household members who are willing to participate in the study will be asked to provide a saliva sample. You and your child can learn in advance how the saliva sample is collected in the enclosed information brochure. Please keep the information brochure in case your household is asked to provide a saliva sample. You will receive the materials for the collection of the saliva sample with the second letter. You and all household members can voluntarily decide if you/they want to participate in the second stage of the study. If you do not hear from us within the next few days, then you and members of your household will not have to provide a saliva sample at this time.

We ask the selected person to check whether you have received 1 or more test kits and then follow the 8 steps listed below.

  1. Please read the enclosed information brochure. If you are a minor, please read the section for minors (ages 12-16 years). If your child has been selected for the test your child should read the appropriate section for children (ages 7-11 years). If you received more than 1 test kit, please have all other household members read the relevant sections. Please then talk to all household members about the study and ask who would like to participate.
  2. Please read the enclosed information brochure. If you are a minor, please read the section for minors (ages 12-16 years). If your child has been selected for the test your child should read the appropriate section for children (ages 7-11 years). Please fill out the consent form and sign it. If you are a minor, ask your parents/legal guardian to sign it. If you received more than one test kit: Please assign sample tubes to the persons in your family who wish to participate and write their initials on the sample tubes which correspond with their names on the consent forms.
  3. Keep the access code in the top right-hand corner of the letter. You will need this to access the results on the internet or by phone!
  4. Review the instructions for collection of the saliva sample with all participating household members in the information brochure or on the internet at www.virus-finder.de.
  5. You or all participating household members are then asked to provide a saliva sample. Help your child to collect a saliva sample, if necessary. If the number of sample tubes is insufficient, you may request additional ones by calling the telephone hotline listed below.
    Important: If possible, the saliva sample should be taken before brushing your teeth and having breakfast. This allows for greater testing accuracy.
  6. If you have been selected for the test you (only you!) can use the enclosed questionnaire to provide voluntary information about COVID-19 symptoms. If your child has been selected for the test, we ask you to provide information about COVID-19 symptoms of your child.
  7. Place the sample tubes and consent form in the return envelope. If possible, enclose the completed questionnaire.

  8. Bring the return envelope to the post office (free of charge).

We ask the 1 selected person who received the test kit to follow the 8 steps listed below.

  1. Please read the enclosed information brochure. If you are a minor, please read the section for minors (ages 12-16 years). If your child has been selected for the test, he/she should read the appropriate section for children (ages 7-11 years). If you received more than 1 test kit, please have all other household members read the relevant sections. Please then talk to all household members about the study and ask who would like to participate.
  2. Please read the enclosed information brochure. If you are a minor, please read the section for minors (ages 12-16 years). If your child has been selected for the test he/she should read the appropriate section for children (ages 7-11 years). Please fill out the consent form and sign it. If you are a minor, ask your parents/legal guardian to sign it. If you received more than one test kit: Please assign sample tubes to the persons in your family who wish to participate and write their initials on the sample tubes which correspond with their names on the consent forms.
  3. Keep the access code in the top right-hand corner of the letter. You will need this to access the results on the internet or by phone!
  4. Review the instructions for collection of the saliva sample with all participating household members ????? in the information brochure or on the internet at www.virus-finder.de.
  5. You or all participating household members are then asked to provide a saliva sample. Help your child to collect a saliva sample, if necessary. If the number of sample tubes is insufficient, you may request additional sample tubes by calling the telephone hotline listed below.
    Important: If possible, the saliva sample should be taken before brushing your teeth and having breakfast. This allows for greater testing accuracy.
  6. If you have been selected for the test you (only you!) can use the enclosed questionnaire to provide voluntary information about COVID-19 symptoms. If your child has been selected for the test, we ask you to provide information about COVID-19 symptoms of your child.
  7. Place the sample tubes and consent form in the return envelope. If possible, enclose the completed questionnaire.

  8. Return the reply-paid envelope to us by mail (free of charge).

We ask every member in your household who wants to participate to follow the 8 steps listed below.

  1. Please read the enclosed information brochure. If you are a minor, please read the section for minors (ages 12-16 years). If your child has been selected for the test your child should read the appropriate section for children (ages 7-11 years). If you received more than 1 test kit, please have all other household members read the relevant sections. Please then talk to all household members about the study and ask who would like to participate.
  2. Please read the enclosed information brochure. If you are a minor, please read the section for minors (ages 12-16 years). If your child has been selected for the test, he/she should read the appropriate section for children (ages 7-11 years). Please fill out the consent form and sign it. If you are a minor, ask your parents/legal guardian to sign it. If you received more than one test kit: Please assign sample tubes to the persons in your family who wish to participate and write their initials on the sample tubes which correspond with their names on the consent forms.
  3. Keep the access code in the top right-hand corner of the letter. You will need this to access the results on the internet or by phone!
  4. Review the instructions for collection of the saliva sample with all participating household members ?????in the information brochure or on the internet at www.virus-finder.de.
  5. You or all participating household members are then asked to provide a saliva sample. Help your child to collect a saliva sample, if necessary. If the number of sample tubes is insufficient, you may request additional sample tubes by calling the telephone hotline listed below.
    Important: If possible, the saliva sample should be taken before brushing your teeth and having breakfast. This allows for greater testing accuracy.
  6. If you have been selected for the test you (only you!) can use the enclosed questionnaire to provide voluntary information about COVID-19 symptoms. If your child has been selected for the test, we ask you to provide information about COVID-19 symptoms of your child.
  7. Place the sample tubes and consent form in the return envelope. If possible, enclose the completed questionnaire.

  8. Return the reply-paid envelope to us by mail (free of charge).

What happens after you submit a saliva sample?

As a participant in this study, you, your child and household members will help us to gain knowledge about the spread of the coronavirus so we can better prevent lockdown measures in the future. This will be done by identifying sources of infection earlier, thus preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

If you have any questions, please contact our telephone hotline (Tel. No. 06221 - 522 2399) Monday to Friday from 7am to 11am and 2pm to 6pm from 18.11.2020 to 23.12.2020. The test results can be found on the internet: www.virus-finder.de or at the telephone hotline.

What does a negative test result mean?

If your and your household’s test result is negative, it means that no coronavirus was detected during laboratory analysis. It does not mean that you are protected from future infection. It may also be possible that infection happened shortly before testing and thus, could not yet be detected. We therefore ask that you and all household members continue to observe all prescribed hygiene and protective measures!

What happens in case of a positive test result?

If you or any household member’s test result is positive, we will utilise this as a preliminary result and perform a confirmatory test. If the confirmatory test is negative, the final test result will be considered negative. If the confirmatory test remains positive, we will inform the responsible health department. The public health department will then contact you and inform you about further procedures.

This study complements existing test procedures. If you or any household member have COVID-19 symptoms, you should report to the Health Department regardless or not of your participation in the study.

Your participation is very important to us and will be a valuable contribution to the public health response. We thank you in advance for your support.



Kind regards,



Dr. Andreas Deckert, Principal Investigator
Heidelberg Institute of Global Health

Prof. Dr. Dr. Till Bärnighausen
Institute Director
Heidelberg Institute of Global Health

Dr. med. Claudia Denkinger

Head of working group:
Clinical Tropical Medicine
University Hospital Heidelberg

Prof. Michael Knop

Head of working group:
Center for Molecular Biology
University Heidelberg

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