Bergen COVID-19 Research Group


The Bergen COVID-19 Research Group (BCRG) is a multidisciplinary team of dedicated scientists focusing on basic and clinical COVID-19 research. We gather outbreak scientists, infectious disease clinicians, laboratory-based virologists and immunologists representing the Universities (University of Bergen, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences), Bergen Municipality and major hospitals (Haukeland University Hospital, Stavanger University Hospital, and Haraldsplass Deaconess Hospital) in Western Norway. As the first group researching COVID-19 in Norway, we have built a unique biobank and published our scientific results in high-ranking international peer reviewed journals.

The first case of COVID-19 infection was identified in Bergen on February 28, 2020 prior to the global declaration of pandemic on March 11, 2020. SARS CoV-2 testing of all suspected cases in the community was centralised in Bergen providing a unique opportunity to study the pandemic within the city. Building on our experience from the swine influenza pandemic, our interdisciplinary consortium aims to understand key clinical, epidemiological, and immunological characteristics of SARS CoV-2 infection in the general population, hospitalised patients and frontline healthcare workers (HCW).

We commenced our study on March 6, 2022, collecting baseline pre-exposure and demographics data and blood samples from 1200 health care workers. These HCW have been followed up upon suspected or confirmed infection during the pandemic allowing us to map exposure. Humoral and cellular immunological assays to test SARS CoV-2 specific responses have been developed. We have conducted long term follow up of infected cases and their household contacts from each of the SARS CoV-2 variant waves, describing household attack rates and persisting symptoms. Further, we aim to define levels of population-based immunity to SARS-CoV-2 virus in HCW (exposed and/or infected), community and hospitalized patients and assess the durability of immunity. We will describe the prognostic factors for severe and life-threatening illness in hospitalized patients in Bergen and investigate immunological biomarkers for severe disease.

Our early epidemiological and immunological findings provided vital information on the ability of the virus to spread in the Norwegian population and in health care services informing local, national and international policy decisions. We identified factors which can reduce infection in households, healthcare settings and nursing homes. This information will be important for future infection control for emerging pathogens. We have also defined risk factors and the prevalence of short and long term sequelae after SARS CoV-2 infection showing the long-term complications even after mild disease and in adolescents and young adults including shortness of breath, fatigue, and cognitive problems (memory loss and concentration difficulties). One of main findings is that almost half of infected patients experience persisting symptoms which causes considerable suffering, including loss of ability to perform daily activities, loss of educational and work opportunities, with far reaching personal and societal consequences. Future pandemic preparedness needs to plan for the healthcare needs of patients with long-term sequela not only in patients who were severely ill but also those after mild infection.

Due to the centralised SARS CoV-2 testing in Bergen we have identified the risk of reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 variants in previously infected or vaccinated individuals and the long-term complications after infection with different variants. The period of protection is important for defining who and when people should be revaccinated with COVID vaccines in different age and risk groups.

Our researchers are participating in a number of evaluation and advisory activities. Bjørn Blomberg, Bård Kittang, Kristin Mohn and Nina Langeland were actively involved in the Solidarity platform trials to evaluate antivirals for treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients.

Rebecca Cox has been appointed the national coordinator for the EU H2020 funded Vaccelerate project to advance COVID vaccines development and evaluation in Europe. She was also nominated as a Member European Medicines Agency Scientific Advisory Group Vaccines.

Nina Langeland sat in the two independent “Corona Commissions” which thoroughly and comprehensively reviewed and evaluated the Norwegian authorities handling of the COVID-19 pandemic providing two written reports.

Rebecca Cox, Kristin Mohn and Nina Langeland were members of the expert group of Norwegian National Knowledge programme on COVID-19 and the expert group on COVID-19 vaccines providing scientific advice to the Norwegian government.

Finally, Rebecca Cox acted as a scientific advisor to European Commission to assist the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors with the development of the policy-based Scientific Opinion on Pandemics. She and Nina Langeland are members of the European Commission’s expert group on SARS-CoV-2 variants. Rebecca was also a member of the study group National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), USA “Best practices for vaccine research and development for management of pandemic influenza”.

For the future, we have built a multidisciplinary team in Western Norway covering the municipalities, nursing homes, and city hospitals which will allow broad scientific collaboration on outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics, and established a national network for research on prevention of complications after viral infections.



Members of the group

Professor Rebecca Cox, Head of the Influenza Centre

Rebecca Jane Cox Brokstad

Professor, PhD. PI and Head of the Influenza Centre

Foto: Svein Lunde, Helse Stavanger

Nina Langeland

Professor, MD, PhD, Medical PI


Kristin Greve-Isdahl Mohn

Associate Professor, MD, PhD. Specialist in Infection Medicine


Bjørn Blomberg

Associate Professor, MD, PhD. Specialist in Infection Medicine 


Karl A. Brokstad

Professor, Dr. Sc. Immunologist and lab. coordinator


Other group members

Arild Iversen (Bergen Kommune)

Kjell Haug (Bergen Kommune, IGS)

Bård Kittang (K2, Bergen Kommune, HDS)

Dagrun Waag Linchhausen

Iren Löhr (K2, SUS)

Heidi Syre (SUS)

Marianne Sævik (HUS)

Camilla Tøndel (K2 HUS)

Fan Zhou (K2)