Researchers want to make a global disease forecasting system that would be as easy as checking the weather.
A cadre of leading researchers pitched the idea in a June article in eLife, and they’re calling it the Global Immunological Observatory (GIO). Ultimately, it aims to provide “immunity data by zip code,” Princeton University reports.
The Idea: Before taking your kid to the doctor, check the local disease conditions to see if there's a flu or a cold outbreak.
It would be a massive collaborative effort requiring a lot of blood to provide the immunity data that would underpin the observatory.
But researchers say it would be crazy not to try, surmising that such a system would have flagged SARS-CoV-2 early and ultimately saved an untold number of lives—if only it had existed.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security share that frustration and want to build a similar system for the US, reports the Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health magazine. While academia-based disease forecasts have already influenced US and UK policymakers, had they been centered in government they would have made a mark much faster.
The Quote: “We want to create something like the National Weather Service, but for infectious disease,” says Caitlin Rivers, a CHS senior scholar.