Google announced on Wednesday (24) the launch of Global.heath, an open platform that brings together thousands of anonymous cases of covid-19, in more than 100 countries. According to the company, the objective of the initiative is to help epidemiologists around the world to create models of the path of the disease and to track its variants, as well as future infectious diseases.
According to the researchers, the use of data is fundamental to understand how the virus works. For them, even with the vaccines being distributed, the simultaneous appearance of new contagious variants of the coronavirus points to the need for continuous surveillance. Not just to stem the progression of SARS-CoV-2, but to prevent another pandemic from happening in the future.
The data used at Global.health comes from open sources from public health officials, and goes through a panel of experts to ensure that the information strictly meets anonymity requirements.
At the beginning of the pandemic, a group of researchers from the universities of Oxford (United Kingdom), Tsinghua (China), Northeastern and Boston Children’s Hospital (USA) started to collect data on the spread of covid-19 around the world. With the number of cases growing, Google provided $ 1.25 million in funding and provided a team of ten full-time employees and seven part-time volunteers to help with the project.