Nav: Home

Viewing COVID-19 through the lens of data science

May 22, 2020

Multidisciplinary study of the COVID-19 pandemic and its wide-ranging impact has become an urgent endeavor worldwide. To further and deepen global understanding of the crisis, the Harvard Data Science Review (an open access platform of the Harvard Data Science Initiative) is publishing a special issue examining the novel coronavirus and its impact through the lens of data science.

The issue covers a wide range of topics addressing the societal, epidemiological, political, and educational issues that have rapidly emerged from the SARS-CoV2 pandemic. Articles include:
  • A Conversation About Covid-19 With Biostatisticians and Epidemiologists
    David Banks (Duke University), Susan Ellenberg (University of Pennsylvania), Thomas Fleming (University of Washington), M. Elizabeth Halloran (University of Washington), Andrew Lawson (Medical University of South Carolina), and Lance Waller (Emory University)

    Five leading biostatisticians and epidemiologists debate the probable scope and duration of the pandemic, the kinds of medical responses that we need, and some of the impacts they foresee on the U.S. and on the world. They also discuss the pandemic's likely effect on higher education.
  • The Coronavirus Exponential: A Preliminary Investigation into the Public's Understanding
    Alexander Podkul (Optimus), Scott Tranter (Optimus), Liberty Vittert (Washington University, St. Louis), Alex Alduncin (Optimus)

    The reasons why we are currently "socially distancing" are based on an understanding of exponential growth and the idea of "flattening the curve." The authors present and discuss a pair of survey experiments that explore the public's statistical literacy by examining its ability to calculate and understand exponential growth. These findings may be used to help better ground effective communication strategies aimed at the general public.

  • Bayesian Adaptive Clinical Trials for Anti-Infective Therapeutics During Epidemic Outbreaks
    Shomesh Chaudhuri (QLS Advisors), Andrew W. Lo (MIT), Danying Xiao (MIT), and Qingyang Xu (MIT)

    In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, how should regulatory agencies adapt their normally lengthy clinical trial and approval process to address the urgency of finding treatments and saving lives? The authors propose a Bayesian adaptive patient-centered framework to optimize the clinical trial development path for anti-infective therapies and vaccines. Their research provides a rational, systematic, transparent, repeatable, and practical framework for regulators, policymakers, and clinical researchers to evaluate the efficacy of anti-infective therapeutics during the course of any epidemic outbreak when the cost of false negatives far outweighs the cost of false positives.

  • Estimating Probabilities of Success of Vaccine and Other Anti-Infective Therapeutic Development Programs
    Andrew W. Lo (MIT), Kien Wei Siah (MIT), Chi Heem Wong (MIT)

    The economic value of a drug or medical device development program is typically computed by assessing the program's cumulative revenues if successful, and companies rely on this data to make business decisions about which programs to pursue and how to fund them.

    In this article, the authors provide estimates of clinical trial outcomes for vaccines and other anti-infective therapeutics using 43,414 unique triplets of clinical trial, drug, and disease between January 1, 2000, and January 7, 2020, yielding 2,544 vaccine programs and 6,829 non-vaccine programs targeting infectious diseases--the largest dataset of its kind. As governments around the world begin to formulate a more systematic strategy for dealing with pandemics beyond COVID-19, these estimates can be used by policymakers to identify areas most likely to be undeserved by private-sector engagement and in need of public-sector support.

  • Tackling Covid-19 through Responsible AI Innovation: Five Steps in the Right Direction
    David Leslie (The Alan Turing Institute)

    Innovations in data science and artificial intelligence (AI) have a central role to play in supporting global efforts to combat COVID-19 and address a broad range of biomedical, epidemiological, and socio-economic challenges. However, this wide-reaching scientific capacity also raises ethical challenges.

    The authors present a practice-based path to responsible AI design and discovery centered on open, accountable, equitable, and democratically governed processes and products. When taken from the start, these steps will not only enhance the capacity of innovators to tackle Covid-19 responsibly, they will help to set the data science and AI community down a path that is both better prepared to cope with future pandemics and better equipped to support a more humane, rational, and just society of tomorrow.
The special issue will be published on a rolling/continuous basis with new articles appearing weekly through the beginning of July 2020.

The MIT Press

Related Pandemic Articles:

New Zealanders' attitudes changed after pandemic lockdown
In the first few weeks of the lockdown of New Zealand in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents reported a slight increase in mental distress but higher levels of confidence in the government, science and the police, as well as greater patriotism, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
A risk-tailored approach to reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic
A tailored public health approach that accounts for variation in risks across populations, places and time could guide the next phase of Canada's coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response, argue authors in a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
New model predicts the peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic
This week in the journal Frontiers, researchers describe a single function that accurately describes all existing available data on active COVID-19 cases and deaths -- and predicts forthcoming peaks.
COVID-19 pandemic uniting Canadians like no other event in decades
A new study by researchers from McGill University and the University of Toronto finds a cross-partisan consensus on battling COVID-19 in Canada.
How to identify which interventions work best in a pandemic
In lieu of a vaccine or reliable preventative medications, the only approaches currently available to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 are behavioral -- handwashing, mask-wearing and social distancing, for example.
Nationwide survey about the corona pandemic
Majority feels strained, trusts health measures and favors a wealth tax on the rich.
COVID-19: Lessons to learn about the first 4.0 pandemic
Although the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was officially presented suddenly in the popular market of exotic and wild animals in Wuhan in December 2019, phylogenetic studies state that coronavirus was already present in latency phase since October in this city in the province of Hubei.
Local climate unlikely to drive the early COVID-19 pandemic
Princeton researchers report in the journal Science that the number of people still vulnerable to COVID-19 and the speed at which the disease spreads means that local climate conditions are not likely to dominate the first wave of the pandemic.
Digital health in the COVID-19 pandemic
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and other key digital technology applications will play a vital role addressing the new healthcare challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gaps in international law impede pandemic research
The global COVID-19 pandemic reveals gaps in international law that can inhibit the sharing of scientific information, biological samples and genetic sequence data (GSD) crucial to the timely development of diagnostics, antiviral treatments and vaccines to address novel viral threats.
More Pandemic News and Pandemic Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Clint Smith
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer has sparked massive protests nationwide. This hour, writer and scholar Clint Smith reflects on this moment, through conversation, letters, and poetry.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Nina
Producer Tracie Hunte stumbled into a duet between Nina Simone and the sounds of protest outside her apartment. Then she discovered a performance by Nina on April 7, 1968 - three days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tracie talks about what Nina's music, born during another time when our country was facing questions that seemed to have no answer, meant then and why it still resonates today.  Listen to Nina's brother, Samuel Waymon, talk about that April 7th concert here.