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Every day, new information is published about the causes, effects, transmission and treatment of COVID-19. But false claims about the virus are also prolific online. How can policymakers, vaccine developers and medical professionals around the world gain access to the latest, most accurate information about the virus and make the best decisions? TNO and its partners developed a search engine and data mining platform to help keep these professionals informed in a timely way.
The Trusted World of Corona (TWOC), a consortium of private companies, universities, hospitals and TNO, developed a data mining platform to make the latest, most trusted data about the coronavirus available and adjustable for context in a specific country. Using the effective COVID-19 platform, users can search validated and published global data about the virus, apply locally relevant parameters, and extract information that is relevant to a region’s situation and questions.
Using the platform in a locally relevant context, governments, NGOs, outbreak teams and healthcare organisations can make better decisions about preventing the spread of the virus, preparing for future outbreaks, treating those who contract COVID-19 and more. Data can be visualised in easy-to-understand ways, so that it can be utilised even by those with limited technical capabilities. And the data can be obtained swiftly, saving precious time for decision-makers.
‘In cases of public health, clear decision-making and effective policymaking are the keys to successfully saving lives,’ explains Jildau Bouwman, TNO. ‘An effective data mining solution can help decision-makers and leaders obtain the most accurate information to fuel their decisions, faster and more easily than ever. And because the COVID-19 platform makes the data visual and understandable, the impact is even greater.’
Organisations like NGOs, hospitals or crisis teams interested in setting up a data-mining platform specific to their region can rely on TWOC’s knowledge and expertise. From implementing the platform to training users, and from adjusting locally relevant tools to preparing data, TNO and its partners can be a crucial component of the project team. Jildau: ‘We also need partners with knowledge of the local needs, access to valid data and a team willing to bring the platform to its most effective level. But once it is in place, it can help save lives by enabling fast and trustworthy decision-making.’
The struggle to find, distil and utilise relevant medical data is not new, and it’s not caused by the coronavirus. The rapid spreading of the virus simply made it more urgent to make relevant data and publications available. The TWOC consortium is just one of many international partnerships, in which TNO aims to make important scientific information more accessible, using an agreed-upon standard and effective sharing techniques.
The COVID-19 platform is based on the FAIR protocol, which TNO co-authored. The protocol ensures that relevant data is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. ‘The FAIR standards give clinicians, politicians, innovators and academics the opportunity to easily share and access the latest findings, research and data internationally. Not just to manage the coronavirus pandemic most effectively, but also in the management of any other health issue. So implementing the platform and applying locally relevant parameters can help organisations to take control of health crises in their region, and make the most effective decisions now and in the future.’
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