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New Method for Predicting the Spread of the Corona Virus
Thu, Mar 26 2020, 12:00 PM

A new method for monitoring, identifying, and predicting the coronavirus’s spreading zones, was initiated and developed by scientists from the Weizman Institute of Science in coordination with the Ministry of Health.


Additional governments have now begun to implement the method, which is based on questionnaires for

the general public and on the analysis of the data obtained from them. The questionnaires track the development of virus-induced symptoms, and the analysis relies on Big Data algorithms and artificial intelligence. Viral spreads occur in clusters of infection; thus, early identification of clusters may facilitate various actions aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus.


The pilot project, launched in Israel about a week and a half ago by the Institute’s Profs. Eran Segal and Benjamin Geiger and Prof. Yuval Dor from The Hebrew University, has received remarkable public response, with some 60,000 Israelis filling the questionnaires to date. Preliminary data analysis led the scientists to detect a significant increase in symptoms reported by the public in areas where verified patients are known to have passed. This accurate, neighborhood-level mapping may enable the health authorities to concentrate on areas in which an outbreak and spread of the virus is predicted – while allowing them to ease measures in areas where an outbreak is not expected.


The method may provide the Ministry of Health with a strategic tool for tackling the crisis, however, it is important to note that they are not intended to replace the efforts of increasing the number of tests to identify patients and carriers.


Numerous countries, including the U.S., India, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Britain, have also started adopting the questionnaire method. The scientists are currently working to establish a global forum, led by Prof. Segal and other researchers from the United States, with the goal of sharing data and insights and building prediction and comparison tools together.


Click here to fill out the questionnaire: http://predict-corona.org


It should be noted that the questionnaire does not diagnose coronavirus infection. In addition, the questionnaire is anonymous and all data will be used only for the purpose of monitoring the spread of the virus. The scientists are taking all possible means to maintain the respondents’ privacy and information security.


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