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COVID-19 response

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In response to the recent outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), i-sense researchers have been working collaboratively to rapidly adapt our tools and technologies to support development of emergency diagnostics and surveillance to assess the prevalence of the virus.

“Today i-sense members are working with the World Health Organization, Public Health England and Africa CDC on COVID-19 and advising funders,” says i-sense Director, Prof Rachel McKendry.  

i-sense researchers have been adapting our agile track, test, treat platform technologies to detect COVID-19.

“Adaptive tools and technologies are crucial to aid in an emergency epidemic response, helping patients and protecting populations."

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab. Credit: NIAID-RML

COVID-19 news 

i-sense COVID-19 dashboard highlights gaps in data for England needed to address the pandemic

Researchers within i-sense have developed a new public health data visualisation dashboard for COVID-19. Developing the dashboard has highlighted issues regarding the quality, consistency and availability of reliable data needed to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.

Google funding for modelling OCVID-19 using web search data

i-sense members, Dr Vasileios Lampos and Prof Ingemar Cox at UCL Computer Science, have received USD$200,000 in funding to support their research into modelling the prevalence and understanding the broader impact of COVID-19 using web search data.

Digital technologies and data privacy in the COVID-19 pandemic

Nature Medicine review, led by researchers in the EPSRC funded i-sense project, looks at how digital technologies have been mobilised for a global public health response to COVID-19 and the associated concerns with privacy and efficacy in an evolving digital world.

Community-based study seeks to understand COVID-19 spread

UCL has launched Virus Watch, inviting 50,000 households to take part in one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of COVID-19 in the UK. The study, which will require participants to complete regular online symptom surveys, seeks to better understand community spread of the virus.

Go local: the key to COVID-19 lockdown release (2020)

The piece, published as a pre-print on arXiv, draws on geospatial data highlighting local variation in mobility across the country, as well as case rate data, which shows potential hotspots of COVID-19 infection.

Working on COVID-19 diagnostics in lockdown 

The team at i-sense have been working collaboratively across institutions to develop point-of-care diagnostic tests for COVID-19. When the UK went into lockdown in mid-March, a small group of researchers were given special access to i-sense labs in London and quickly implemented appropriate measures to ensure they could continue this important work safely.


Tracking COVID-19 using online search data (2020)

i-sense researchers from University College London, led by Dr Vasileios Lampos, in collaboration with Public Health England, Microsoft Research, and Harvard Medical School are looking at ways of tracking COVID-19 using online search data to better understand the true extent of community spread.

Focusing on COVID-19 at UCLH Advanced Pathogen Diagnostics Unit

Working to actively curb the COVID-19 pandemic, i-sense researchers in partnership with UCLH Advanced Pathogen Diagnostics Unit (APDU) are developing new diagnostic technologies to improve clinical care and outcomes.

Calling on collaboration from tech companies to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic

Scientists from i-sense are calling on technology companies to work with researchers and governments to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic by sharing their data in a legal, proportionate, ethical and privacy-preserving manner.

Writing in Nature, the group from UCL, Imperial College London, Chatham House, Diagonal Works and the London School for Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, led by Professor Rachel McKendry (Director of i-sense EPSRC IRC), says that with access to relevant and vital information, technology companies have an important role to play in ensuring patients and populations are protected.

Adapting i-sense technologies for the detection of COVID-19

In response to the recent outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), i-sense researchers have been working collaboratively to rapidly adapt our tools and technologies to support development of emergency diagnostics and surveillance to assess the prevalence of the virus.


COVID-19 funding 

Imperial's President's Excellence fund speeds up research for COVID-19

Professor Molly Stevens’ team have been awarded £50,000 in funding from the new Imperial College COVID-19 Response Fund to develop point-of-care diagnostics for the current pandemic.  

i-sense research receives funding from EIT for COVID-19 Rapid Response Call

Led by Prof Molly Stevens, the i-sense team at Imperial College London have received over €500,000 in funding from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) as part of their COVID-19 Rapid Response Call.

New funding for collaborative research into tools and technologies for COVID-19 response

i-sense has received £500,000 in funding from the Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC) to urgently assist with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.