Imperial has projected the coronavirus outbreak for all countries around the world with the latest version of its scenario analysis tool.
"COVID-19 continues to affect the majority of countries across the world." Professor Azra Ghani School of Public Health
The Imperial College COVID19 Response Team, in collaboration with Bio Nano, have released version 3 of the scenario analysis tool Covidsim.org, which was first released in May 2020.
The tool allows the user to make projections of the course of the epidemic for all countries in the world, and the expected number of people requiring hospitalisation and critical care facilities.
The model is automatically re-calibrated weekly to the cumulative COVID-19 deaths reported up to the previous week. It initially included analysis and projections for 137 low-and-middle income countries.
Supporting healthcare services around the world
Since the tool was first released in May, it has attracted over 50,000 users, thereby supporting policymakers around the world in developing their response to the pandemic.
Version 3 incorporates analysis and projections for all countries and now additionally includes plots of the effective reproductive number (Reff: Average number of secondary infections generated by a primary infection after accounting for population levels of immunity).
The update also allows the user to specify the impact of future non-pharmaceutical interventions by changing the time varying reproductive number (Rt: Average number of secondary infections generated by a primary infection in the absence of immunity), mimicking different phases of intensity of interventions aimed to reduce contact rates across the population.
The tool was developed by Imperial’s MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Jameel Institute (J-IDEA) with Bio Nano Consulting (BNC, a member of the AquAffirm Group) and was co-funded by Wellcome and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Emerging second waves
Professor Azra Ghani, from the School of Public Health, said: “COVID-19 continues to affect the majority of countries across the world.
"While we wait for the widespread roll-out of vaccines next year, epidemiological tools such as this can help users to understand the need for ongoing interventions to suppress transmission as far as possible given the local context and hence avoid overwhelming the demands that COVID-19 could place on limited healthcare.”
Dr Oliver Watson, from the School of Public Health, said: "The new version of covidsim will greatly help countries consider different epidemic trajectories as we move into 2021.
"This now includes all countries, with emerging second waves and ongoing epidemics happening across all income levels showing the need for careful planning in response to COVID-19.
"Lastly, we present in covidsim how much increasing population immunity has impacted the level of transmission and thus how much of current epidemic trends are due to interventions and how much is due to the level of transmission that has already occurred."
Dr Giovanni Charles, from the School of Public Health, said: “This tool is to support researchers and health professionals assess interventions for COVID-19. Users can consider a variety of scenarios and plan effectively with limited resources. Tools like these support the global effort to counter COVID-19”
David Sarphie of BioNano Consulting said: “Developed in association with the excellent MRC GIDA team at Imperial College, this platform has already helped government ministries from around the world simulate future epidemic scenarios to enable them to plan, prepare for and manage the COVID-19 global pandemic more effectively. We believe this new version will help still further.”
Michael Klein of COVIDaction Data Challenge said: “Epidemiological models are needed to assess the spread of COVID-19.
"They are particularly essential for lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where reliable testing data is lacking, providing a tool for predicting contagion patterns to determine the best course of action for a country’s population.
"The COVIDaction Data Challenge identified covidsim.org as being unique in its approach to leveraging data and evidence that will benefit LMICs. We’re excited to support the latest version of the tool on behalf of UK aid.”
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Dr Sabine L. van Elsland
School of Public Health