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PCR tests for research project

The Chair of Medical Physics at TU Dortmund University is conducting a research project since the Winter semester 2021/22 to identify undetected infections with the coronavirus on campus. For this purpose, samples from volunteers (vaccinated or unvaccinated) will be analyzed using a particularly rapid PCR test. The project is carried out in cooperation with ThermoFisher Scientific.

For more information, please visit the website of the Chair of Medical Physics.

The quality of the study as well as the protection on campus increases with the number of those who participate. The optimum would be if everyone participated. Not only employees and students of TU Dortmund University can participate and donate samples, but also their family members. Their vaccination status is irrelevant.

Recovered persons should not participate in medical physics PCR pool testing for the first eight weeks after infection because they can continue to shed virus for a long time without being contagious. Thus, newly recovered persons would lead to positive pools, which then have to be resolved unnecessarily.

The sample is collected in form of gargled water. To do this, you first need to pick up two screw-top and reusable 15ml tubes. These are available at the following locations in the physics building: in the foyer at the sample collection point (as well as from 4-22 October at the check-in point) and at the Chair of Medical Physics (P2-03-512a).

For the sample, gargle with water at home right after getting up in the morning and bring it to campus in a tube. The samples can be handed in on Mondays to Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the foyer of the physics building. To do so, fill the gargle from a sample tube into a numbered collection container. The number of the collection container can later be used to view the results of the collection sample anonymously online. The second sample is kept in case a positive result of the composite sample requires an analysis of the individual samples.

Participating groups that collect their samples themselves can drop their bulk sample(s) directly into a box at the Chair of Medical Physics (P2-03-503) anytime from Monday morning to Thursday noon.

For more info on how to drop off samples, please visit the Chair of Medical Physics website.

A sample can be submitted twice a week. It is recommended to hand in the first sample on the first day of the working week and the second sample on the next but one day (i.e. Mon/Wed, possibly Tue/Thu).

It is best to take the sample at home in the morning immediately after getting up, as you should not have drunk or eaten anything for two hours beforehand. You gargle with about 5 ml of tap water for 30-60 seconds and then divide the gargle sample between the two tubes. One sample is given away and the other tube is kept in case a composite sample is positive and individual samples need to be analyzed. The tubes are reusable; they should be cleaned with clear water only, as soap residue will interfere with the analysis.

Instructions for sample collection can be found here:

Up to ten samples are analyzed together as a "pool" to make the analysis as efficient as possible. The analysis method is a PCR test which is very sensitive and at the same time particularly fast.

When you submit your sample, you must remember the number of the collection vessel to which you have added your gargle sample. Under the following link, you can then usually view the result online and anonymously in the evening of the respective day:

A positive result means that at least one of the samples in the pooled sample was positive. In this case, the second sample tube with gargle must be labeled with a self-selected abbreviation and placed in a zip bag in the box at the Chair of Medical Physics (P2-03-503). The samples are then analyzed individually and the results are published online and anonymously as soon as possible.

If the individual sample is negative, the all-clear is given. If it is positive, you must quarantine yourself. If you do a self-test at home after a positive PCR pool test as validation, you run the risk of getting a false negative result. Therefore, have a certified antigen test or a PCR test done at a testing center.

The gargle samples used here allow a great simplification of the procedure: On the one hand, the sample collection can be done without sterile material and without supervising personnel at home. On the other hand, no washing out of cotton swabs is required in the laboratory. Thanks to the cooperation with ThermoFisher Scientific, the analysis can be performed in the laboratory of the Chair of Medical Physics and does not have to be carried out by the Clinical Center Dortmund (Klinikum Dortmund), as that was the case in the Summer semester of 2021.

The analyses are implemented anonymously and are designed for research purposes; they are not personalized diagnostics. For this reason, no 3G proof can be issued.

The purpose of the research project is to observe the movement of the virus on campus and to study how the virus reaches and leaves the campus. This is particularly important in a vaccinated population. The purpose is to identify previously undetected infections on campus in order to interrupt potential chains of infection early and contain any spread of the coronavirus. It serves as an additional protective measure. The findings from this study have been published in an open access journal: to the paper

Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dort­mund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station (“Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop “Dort­mund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dort­mund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.

The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.

Site Map of TU Dortmund University (Second Page in English).