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Digital technologies and data privacy in the COVID-19 pandemic

A 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.

Lead author and Director of i-sense EPSRC IRC at UCL, Prof Rachel McKendry said: “Our review shows that digital technologies have an important role in a comprehensive response to the pandemic, alongside conventional measures.”

Tracking COVID-19 using online search data

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.

Their current analysis, which uses machine learning models to make predictions of potential prevalence of COVID-19 in a population, focuses on a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Australia, France, and Italy.

i-sense Patient and Public Involvement

With the help of a Patient Public Involvement Starter Grant from the NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre, Dr Harriet Gliddon, an i-sense Postdoc in the McKendry group, held a consultation with people who are living with HIV to understand how i-sense research developing a rapid test for HIV viral load could be used by individuals in the home and link them to digital healthcare systems.

Phones, drones, and disease; i-sense presents at a workshop at the University of Hong Kong

On 17 and 18 May 2018, i-sense members Dr Val Turbé (McKendry group at UCL) and Professor Rosanna Peeling from LSHTM were invited to take part in the ‘Phones, Drones and Disease’ workshop, organised by the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine at the University of Hong Kong.

The purpose of the workshop is to explore how digital networks are reconfiguring health, who benefits from these new technologies, who pays for them and what kinds of resistance and countervailing effects are these technologies producing.

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