The Sakari Alhopuro Foundation donates one million euro to Finnish vaccine research

The Board of Directors of the Sakari Alhopuro Foundation has decided to donate one million euro to the research group led by Professor Kalle Saksela. The funds will be allocated to basic virological research related to the coronavirus.

Published 25 February 2021

‘The Foundation views Finnish vaccine research as being highly essential in our endeavour to defeat the pandemic. The long-term goal is to safeguard the continuity of research conducted in Finland. Preparations for future pandemics call for a high-level of competence within the field, and it’s precisely this competence that we are seeking to support with our contribution’, states Sakari Alhopuro, founder of the Foundation and bearer of the Finnish honorary title of Lääkintäneuvos.

According to Kalle Saksela, Professor of Virology at the University of Helsinki, the contribution of the Sakari Alhopuro Foundation will decidedly improve the conditions for research work – now and in the future.

On the basis of preliminary results, the nasal vaccine developed by Saksela’s research team provides significantly more effective protection against the virus than vaccines delivered by intramuscular injection. The vaccine can also be rapidly tailored as the virus mutates, which makes it possible for us to keep up with its evolution.

‘Our primary goal is to develop as effective a vaccine as possible against COVID-19. Our broader goal is to improve Finland’s capabilities to prepare for future pandemics and revive industrial vaccine production in Finland’, explains Saksela.

Saksela stresses that the basis for everything is high-level research carried out by universities.

‘The donation of the Sakari Alhopuro Foundation decidedly improves the prerequisites for our activities. It facilitates the expansion of the vaccine research team at the University of Helsinki and safeguards long-term activities. On many fronts, this is fantastic news’, says Saksela.


Further information:
Carita Rantanen, Managing Director
tel. +358 40 503 9609, carita.rantanen(at) 

Professor Kalle Saksela
tel. +358 50 569 1902,


Picture of Kalle Saksela: Linda Tammisto, University of Helsinki


The purpose of the Sakari Alhopuro Foundation is to support and promote high-quality medical research, biodiversity, entrepreneurship as well as cultural and social well-being in Finland. The Board of the Foundation decides on the annual target areas for upcoming calls for grant applications. The areas are stated on the Foundation’s website.

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