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Imperial College leading development of Covid-19 insights platform

A project led by Imperial College London researchers is working to build a platform which uses Covid-19 data pooled from over half a million sources to extract real-time insights on the pandemic.

The platform is called REDASA (Realtime Data Analysis and Synthesis). It is being developed by a recently established Covid-19 network, PanSurg, which is led by scientists from Imperial College’s Department of Surgery and Cancer, and its Institute of Global Health Innovation.

The pandemic has generated huge volumes of Covid-19 data dispersed across sources around the world; PanSurg aims to use this data to develop guidance on how best to deliver care for patients with the virus.

“Healthcare professionals are facing huge volumes of academic literature, public information and noise on Covid-19, making it challenging to extract key insights and translate these into best clinical practice,” said James Kinross, a consultant surgeon who is co-leading PanSurg.

The platform will pool data on Covid-19 from over half a million sources, such as news sources and medical journals. The data will be collected at scale using MirrorWeb’s web-capture technology, which uses machine-learning tools to ensure that data gathered from public sources is accurate.

Data will be stored and processed on Cloudwick’s Amorphic service, and AWS data analytics tools – in conjunction with human curation – will enable the extraction of real-time insights. The REDASA platform will reportedly enable a “live systematic review”, which allows for the continuous updating and analysis of data.

“Covid-19 has made it clear just how challenging it is to find critical information quickly and easily in an 'infodemic' situation, with the noise of millions of articles to sift through,” said Matthew Howard, a regional AWS data science lead. “This solution we are developing with PanSurg, and AWS Partner Network Partners Cloudwick and MirrorWeb, combines the best of expert human review with AWS machine-learning technologies.”

“Our aim is to provide a new approach that will put the most accurate information possible in the hands of healthcare professionals, help improve medical knowledge, and develop more effective methods of patient care that will make a difference to frontline healthcare workers.”

PanSurg will share their insights with private and public sector healthcare organisations; it hopes that these insights will be used to inform decision-making by clinicians and lawmakers.

Academics, private companies and public health agencies around the world have been working together to build digital tools to manage the coronavirus pandemic, from the NHS 'Covid-19 Data Store' – which is used to monitor patterns in the spread of the virus around the country – to contact-tracing apps based on tools built by Apple and Google, and based on work by European academics.

Today Ireland launched its contact-tracing app, which is based on Apple and Google’s privacy-focused API. Within a few hours of its launch, it had reached 350,000 downloads.

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