WCM-Q’s Dr. Laith Abu-Raddad highlights role of mathematical modeling in national pandemic response
Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) recently highlighted the key findings that have emerged from a year of epidemiology research on COVID-19 in Qatar, which have informed the country’s response.
QBRI’s expert guest, Dr. Laith Abu-Raddad, professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q), and director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Disease Epidemiology Analytics, focused on a series of epidemiological studies that have been carried out on the infection. His talk expanded on the key findings as they related to the pandemic dynamics, exposure rates in the population, presence of reinfections, and infection severity among others.
Highlighting how influential the use of mathematical modeling was in forecasting hospitalization needs, quarantine and isolation, predicting the peak in Qatar, and the effective reproduction of the number Rt, Dr. Abu-Raddad said that the data was decisive in helping to determine important policy decisions such as easing or escalating restrictions. The model provided the consequences of timing and of implementing various methods for easing restrictions. As an example, the start date for easing restrictions was set at June 15, 2020, by the model, which proved to be a successful strategy as no second wave emerged for seven months.
Dr. Abu-Raddad concluded that this science-based approach to understanding the epidemiology and to informing the national response minimized the toll of the infection and its disease burden, and prepared the country well to confront the pandemic. The approach also facilitated functionality and stability for the economy and society and informed the global scientific understanding of the epidemiology of the infection. The webinar saw a lot of engagement from attendees, with many questions being directed to the guest speaker.
Commenting on the lecture, Dr. Hyung-Goo Kim, Senior Scientist at QBRI and the moderator of the discussion, said: “We thank Dr. Laith Abu-Raddad for his contribution to our webinar. Understanding the factors that lie behind distribution of diseases and identifying their sources and causes is very important in fighting pandemics such as COVID-19. We are happy to continue inviting renowned guests to share experiences and accurate scientific data.”
This webinar comes as part of a webinar series dedicated to highlighting various topics of current global significance mainly focusing on COVID-19 and other relevant topics. The aim of the series is to share up-to-date information with a broad audience coming from scientific and nonscientific backgrounds.
Through its intellectual and applied scientific efforts, QBRI strongly supports the translation of novel scientific discoveries into more efficient therapies and better preventative strategies for human diseases, ultimately leading to the development of personalized medicine.
For more information about QBRI, please visit qbri.hbku.edu.qa