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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Pittsburgh: Working with MIDAS to Turn Rapid Coronavirus Data Sharing into Sustainable Research Infrastructure

Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis, was scrolling through Twitter over the winter holiday break when he noticed chatter among infectious disease epidemiologists about a new virus infecting people in Wuhan, China.

Those tweets spurred a scramble for his team at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health to establish a platform for research collaborations and data sharing on what would become the COVID-19 pandemic. Immediately, the researchers started to compile datasets and early research publications into a central COVID-19 repository for the scientific community, and last week, they launched the online portal for COVID-19 modeling research — a clearinghouse for sharing data-driven discoveries about COVID-19.

“Multiple datasets of transcribed case information have emerged early in the outbreak,” Dr. van Panhuis said. “Scientists so far have published close to a thousand COVID-19 reports and papers, including 150+ papers reporting estimates of epidemiological characteristics of the outbreak.”

Dr. van Panhuis directs the Coordination Center for the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS), a collaborative research network launched by the National Institutes of Health in 2004 to establish U.S. modeling capabilities against infectious disease threats. In short, The Pitt MIDAS Center is a global infectious disease data matchmaking service.

Many of the 300 MIDAS members are conducting modeling research on COVID-19 and are contributing to an extraordinary international collection of data and information regarding the outbreak.

“We’re playing a crucial role in bringing the infectious disease modeling research community together to efficiently share information.”

Full story by Dr. Erin Hare and Ms. Allison Hydzik for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

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