BBC App Aims To Help Us Understand Pandemics

I’ve written numerous times about the ability for mobile apps to contribute enormously to a greater understanding of our health, both on an individual and a societal level.  A nice example of what could be achieved is the new app developed by the BBC, called Pandemic.

The app aims to collect data about how users travel over a 24 hour period, and the number of people they come into contact with.  The idea is to simulate the spread of an infectious disease.

The team consists of researchers from the University of Cambridge and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the app aims to identify both the human networks we have, and the behaviors that underpin those networks and might help us to explain how infectious disease spreads.

The researchers hope that the app will provide valuable insight into how diseases spread through society.  They reveal that the Government National Risk Register believe that infectious diseases are a considerable risk today, and a flu pandemic is especially risky, as half of the population could be affected.

“Nobody knows when the next epidemic will hit, how far it will spread, or how many people will be affected. And yet, because of the power of mathematics, we can still be prepared for whatever lies ahead. What’s really important is that every single download will help improve our models so please please do take part – it will make a difference.” they say.

As well as feeding into better public health management, the results will be aired on a special documentary in spring 2018.