The current COVID-19 pandemic brings lots of difficult challenges.
There is an urgent need for better data to estimate the true prevalence of the disease - and tools to understand and predict the dynamics of the virus spread.
The dataset from the new project will become a resource for epidemiologists and medical doctors and foster important forthcoming research activities.
Furthermore, the researchers will develop a visualization tool, to identify areas with high contagion risk. The proposed analysis instruments will be useful to understand the course of the epidemic in Norway and the effects of the containment measures.
The project is led by UiT, the Arctic University of Norway, in Tromsø, in collaboration with General Practice Research Group and NORCE - Norwegian Research Centre.
The project has just received a grant from the Research Council of Norway’s Covid-19 emergency call.
The goals for the project are to assess the point prevalence of the Covid-19 virus in the Norwegian population, to accurately model the epidemic dynamics and establish a system for continuous assessment of changes in prevalence, incidence, and overall immunity in the population.
The researchers aim to assess antibodies in the blood in a random sample of more than 4000 Norwegians above the age of five. Additionally, participants will complete a questionnaire with personal information, including living/working conditions and travels. This effort will be repeated, and the frequency will depend on the development of the epidemics.
The data collection will be coordinated by UiT, the Arctic University of Norway. The data analytics part is coordinated by Filippo Maria Bianchi at NORCE.
Filippo Maria Bianchi at NORCE says new data analysis tools will be developed to monitor changes over time of changes, incidence, and overall immunity in the population.
–Machine learning and complex network modeling will be used to improve our understanding of the advancement of this epidemic, Bianchi says.
Comparative data analysis will be carried out in collaboration with the international project partners, in the UK and Italy.