Weizmann Institute of Science

Staying Two Steps Ahead of the Coronavirus

23-Mar-2020 3:10 PM EDT, by Weizmann Institute of Science

Newswise — A method for monitoring, identifying, and predicting where the coronavirus will spread has attracted considerable international interest. It was initiated and developed by scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science, in collaboration with researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Clalit Health Services and in coordination with Israel’s Ministry of Health. Other governments have now begun to implement the method, which is based on questionnaires for the general public and 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 spread occurs in clusters of infection; thus, early identification of clusters may facilitate various actions aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus. 

A pilot project, launched in Israel about one week ago by the Institute’s Profs. Eran Segal and Benjamin Geiger, along with Prof. Yuval Dor from the Hebrew University, has received remarkable public response, with some 60,000 Israelis filling out 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 visited. This accurate, neighborhood-level mapping may enable the health authorities to concentrate on areas where an outbreak and spread of the virus is predicted – while allowing them to ease measures in areas where an outbreak is not expected.

“These questionnaires are the only tool that can present a general picture of the virus’s outbreak across the country. 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,” says Prof. Segal. “However, tests can never cover the entire population – due to both logistic and economic constraints. We believe that our method may provide the Ministry of Health with a strategic tool for tackling the crisis.”

Together with Prof. Ran Balicer of the Clalit Research Institute and other researchers, the scientists have continued developing the method, and recently published an article on the MedRxiv site about it, calling on other countries to implement the technique. Numerous countries, including the U.S., India, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Britain, have started adopting the questionnaire method.

The scientists are currently working to establish a global forum, led by Prof. Segal and researchers from the U.S., with the goal of sharing data and insights and building prediction and comparison tools together.

Click here to view the questionnaire.

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 respondents’ privacy and information security.

Prof. Benjamin Geiger’s research is supported by the de Picciotto Cancer Cell Observatory in Memory of Wolfgang and Ruth Lesser, which he heads; the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust; David and Molly Bloom, Canada; and the European Research Council.

Prof. Eran Segal’s research is supported by the Crown Human Genome Center, which he heads; the Larson Charitable Foundation New Scientist Fund; the Else Kroener Fresenius Foundation; the Adelis Foundation; Judith Benattar; Aliza Moussaieff; the Fannie Sherr Fund; the Estate of Zvia Zeroni; and the European Research Council.

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world’s top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. The Institute’s 3,800-strong scientific community engages in research addressing crucial problems in medicine and health, energy, technology, agriculture, and the environment. Outstanding young scientists from around the world pursue advanced degrees at the Weizmann Institute’s Feinberg Graduate School. The discoveries and theories of Weizmann Institute scientists have had a major impact on the wider scientific community, as well as on the quality of life of millions of people worldwide.

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 3373
Released: 23-Sep-2020 1:20 PM EDT
Study: Death counts fail to capture full mortality effects of COVID-19
University of South Florida

More than 200,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19.

Released: 23-Sep-2020 1:10 PM EDT
Q&A: What’s in store for retailers during a pandemic holiday season?
Michigan State University

The 2020 holiday season, much like the majority of the year, will be like none other before. But what does this mean for retailers? Simone Peinkofer, assistant professor of supply chain management at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business, discusses what holiday consumerism may look like for consumers and retailers alike.

Released: 23-Sep-2020 1:05 PM EDT
UK lockdown and air pollution: Nitrogen dioxide halved but sulphur dioxide doubled
University of Liverpool

A University of Liverpool study of air pollution in the UK during the first 100 days of lockdown has revealed that whilst nitrogen oxide levels were cut by half, levels of sulphur dioxide increased by over 100%.

Released: 23-Sep-2020 1:05 PM EDT
Rutgers Experts Explore Questions, Concerns Over COVID-19 Vaccine Trials
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

As researchers race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, a Rutgers infectious disease expert and a Rutgers bioethicist discuss how clinical trials work, the ethics of developing and distributing a vaccine, safety and efficacy in clinical trials and what a successful vaccine may mean.

Newswise: Glycans in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein play active role in infection
18-Sep-2020 10:00 AM EDT
Glycans in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein play active role in infection
American Chemical Society (ACS)

As researchers try to develop therapies/vaccines to combat SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus spike protein is a major focus since it can bind to cells. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Central Science have uncovered an active role for glycans in this process, suggesting targets for vaccines and therapies.

Newswise: Life in lockdown: health-wise, it’s not as bad as you think
Released: 22-Sep-2020 10:05 PM EDT
Life in lockdown: health-wise, it’s not as bad as you think
University of South Australia

While Victorians continue to endure restrictions from a second wave of COVID-19, new research from the University of South Australia is providing much-needed good news about people’s overall health and wellbeing following lockdown.

Released: 22-Sep-2020 5:05 PM EDT
New vaccine strategy harnesses ‘foot soldier’ T-cells to provide protection against influenza
University of Wisconsin-Madison

As Americans begin pulling up their sleeves for an annual flu vaccine, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have provided new insights into an alternative vaccine approach that provides broader protection against seasonal influenza.

17-Sep-2020 8:05 AM EDT
Kidney Damage From COVID-19 Linked to Higher Risk of In-Hospital Death
American Society of Nephrology (ASN)

In an analysis of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, kidney damage associated with the infectious disease was linked with a higher risk of dying during hospitalization.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 25-Sep-2020 12:15 AM EDT Released to reporters: 22-Sep-2020 4:00 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 25-Sep-2020 12:15 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.


Showing results

110 of 3373

close
0.90391