University of Cambridge > > Centre for Mobile, Wearable Systems and Augmented Intelligence Seminar Series > App-based contact tracing: epidemiological rationale and current perspectives

App-based contact tracing: epidemiological rationale and current perspectives

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Abstract: In the last months, app-based contact tracing appeared prominently in the public debate. Some highly relevant questions were often absent from this debate: what is the epidemiological rationale behind digital contact tracing? Which role could these apps play in the control of the COVID -19 epidemic? What should we actually expect from them at low uptake? In this talk, I will summarise our understanding of COVID -19 epidemiology and SARS -CoV-2 transmission, highlighting how speed and efficiency are the main determinants of the effectiveness of contact tracing in controlling the epidemic, and why digital solutions are the most promising ones. I will present an overview of the current status of app-based solutions in several countries, with a focus on the limitations and challenges of existing implementations, and discuss several improvements for test&trace strategies. Finally, I will illustrate the consequences of low uptake and heterogeneous social networks on the effectiveness of app-based contact tracing.

Bio: Luca Ferretti is a Senior Researcher in Pathogen Dynamics at the Big Data Institute, University of Oxford. His research focuses on the interplay of epidemiology, genetics, evolution and within-host dynamics in HIV and other viral pathogens such as FMDV , ASF and SARS -CoV-2. He is currently focused on COVID -19 epidemiology and digital contact tracing. He is a member of the task-force against COVID -19 of the Italian Ministry of Innovation. He has actively supported both NHSX and the Italian government in the development of contact-tracing apps.

This talk is part of the Centre for Mobile, Wearable Systems and Augmented Intelligence Seminar Series series.

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