covid-19 surveillance system

Northwestern University Scientists Develop New COVID-19 Surveillance System

Moderna | via Reuters

Two scientists at Northwestern University's have created the first dynamic global surveillance system to track COVID-19, according to a news release from the university.

The system, which can identify outbreaks even before patients come to hospitals, was rolled out in 195 countries on Thursday.

Existing surveillance, according to the news release, doesn’t identify significant shifts in the pandemic or sound the alarm when there is concerning acceleration of disease transmission signaling an outbreak.

“We can inform leaders where the outbreak is occurring before it shows up in overcrowded hospitals and morgues,” said Lori Post, director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in the news release. “Current systems are static and ours is dynamic.” 

Post, James Oehmke, an adjunct professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University worked with Charles Moss, of the University of Florida, to develop the system over the course of four months.

The global surveillance app, which is named "GASSP (GlobAl Sars-Co2 Surveillance Project)" analyzes the virus in the same way the field of economics measures the expansion and contraction of the economy, according to the university.

“These methods are tried and tested, but this is the first time they are being applied to disease surveillance,” Post added. “We had the model and metrics validated for medical surveillance. We know they work.”

A dashboard for the new COVID-19 tracking system is available on Northwestern's website.

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