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Medical data to be used to build effective Covid-19 modelling

Project aims to identify the most effective combination of strategies to control infections

A data-mining research project at Charles Sturt University in regional New South Wales is developing a modelling system to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus in rural areas.

The research project, led by Azizur Rahman from the school of computing and mathematics, will analyse medical data to track the transmission dynamics of the virus across NSW.

“The research will use epidemiological surveillance data from the Australian Department of Health and NSW Health,” he said in a university statement.

“As we all know, the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in New South Wales has led to a rapid national spread around Australia. But the effectiveness and impact of government suppression strategies remains unclear at this moment, given they depend on intervention intensity and duration.”

Rahman said these strategies included lockdowns, travel restrictions, cancellation of public events and social distancing. The research project will develop modelling systems that can identify the most effective combination of strategies to control infections.

“These strategies will potentially reduce the overall infections and deaths, and delay and reduce peak healthcare demand, and as a result, the burden of Covid-19 will be reduced in our communities.”

He said the modelling framework could be adapted to rural health services and could help build collaborative research partnerships between the university and regional health districts.