University of São Paulo: Data analysis and interdisciplinarity help to fight the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has shown a scenario with several research and development possibilities for the engineers at the Polytechnic School of USP, who worked with specialists from different areas of knowledge. One of the highlighted paths was that of data analysis, which is very important for combating the disease. Carlos Augusto Prete Junior , electrical engineer from the Polytechnic School of USP and researcher of the Cadde Project team at the USP Institute of Tropical Medicine, in an interview with the USP Journal on the Air 1st Edition , comments on this union of efforts that is so necessary at the moment.

Cadde’s team stopped working with dengue as soon as the cases of covid-19 in Brazil were confirmed. The researchers gathered as much information as possible, at that moment, to try to understand what was the dynamics of the pandemic in the country at the beginning. “What cases are imported? Where is the local broadcast happening? What is the virus’s reproduction number? ” were some of the initial questions mentioned by the engineer. The group’s exploratory analyzes ended up becoming even two articles published in reputable scientific journals.

The application of engineering in the studies began effectively when research began to work with the time interval between the presentation of symptoms among those infected. “It is a probabilistic distribution and we realized that this interval was slightly smaller in Brazil than in Europe,” explains Prete Junior.

Regarding the situation in Manaus, one of the hypotheses suggested by the data is that, as the immunity acquired after infection until recently was not so studied, there is a possibility of mass reinfection. The work with this data allows a better preparation to face the situations that may happen. All questions are still being studied and it is not possible to state anything definitive. Studies continue to provide the best possible pandemic control.

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