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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.

m-Africa workshop

On the 12 & 13 December, the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) hosted the m-Africa workshop in Durban. The project is a two-year Medical Research Council GCRF Foundation Award that started in April 2017. m-Africa has allowed researchers from University College London, Imperial College London, and AHRI to work together to evaluate the feasibility of introducing mobile phone-connected tools to improve access to HIV testing, as well as linkage to care, in KwaZulu-Natal.

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