Smart Dubai and Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences have developed a epidemiological model to make timely measures when tackling Covid-19.
Smart Dubai and Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) have developed a Covid-19 epidemiological model to predict the future course of the pandemic more accurately.
The model, an extension of the widely used SEIR (susceptible-exposed-infected-recovered) which mathematically models the spread of infectious diseases with incubation periods, is used by Dubai’s Covid-19 command and control centre to make timely measures at tackling the impact of the coronavirus.
The SEIR model prototype is generally considered generic and unable to capture the unique nature of a novel viral pandemic, such as Covid-19. With that in mind, researchers at Smart Dubai and MBRU developed and tested a specialised version of the SEIR model, called SEAHIR (susceptible-exposed-asymptomatic-hospitalised-isolated-removed) model, which was better able to capture the unique dynamics of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The team working on the project used a publicly available dataset from the United Arab Emirates as a case study to optimise the main parameters of the model and benchmark it against the historical number of cases.
The SEAHIR model enabled the command and control centre to make timely measures on developing testing strategies, increasing healthcare capacity, and implementing interventions to contain the spread of the virus.
The newly developed model can forecast healthcare requirements through a detailed framework. It also takes into consideration the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as physical distancing, and different testing strategies on the number of confirmed cases.
Smart Dubai had first used the model in its Smart Control Dashboard Covid-19, developed in partnership with Dubai’s Covid-19 command and control centre to monitor and predict the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Our approach to handling the pandemic and its repercussions echoed our tactics to drive Dubai’s digital transformation and sustainable development”
“This paper is a significant accomplishment as it outlines our data-driven approach to addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, with a special focus on the UAE and Dubai,” said Younus Al Nasser, assistant director general of Smart Dubai, and CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment.
“We, at Smart Dubai, have always believed data to be an exceptionally effective instrument for calculated decision-making. Our approach to handling the pandemic and its repercussions echoed our tactics to drive Dubai’s digital transformation and sustainable development, where we consistently rely on accurate data when planning Dubai’s transformation into the happiest smart city of the future.”
The work was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in a special issue called Infectious Disease Modelling in the Era of Complex Data in March 2021.
Smart Dubai said six-compartment SEAHIR model could be utilised and extended by decision-makers and researchers in other countries for current or future pandemics.
“Collaboration and sharing of knowledge, is key to ending the global pandemic,” added Dr Amer Sharif, vice chancellor, MBRU, and head of the Dubai Covid-19 command and control centre. “MBRU is committed to leading the way and it is a matter of immense pride that our university has made a notable contribution in shaping Dubai’s response to the pandemic, one that is governed by science and driven by data.”
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