It seems we suffer a global amnesia. You ask a passerby, as we have done it – “What was the disastrous cause of death in the last 100 years?” and you get the usual suspects: the second world war, maybe WWI. There are also some less obvious answers: Chernobyl, the Boxing Day Tsunami, Hiroshima. Very, very rarely someone will say, the Spanish flu, and yet special pandemic killed up to 100 million people.
There are three other were there. Even more amazing is that the British government holds a further flu pandemic so dangerous for our society, that it is at the top of the list of the newly updated National Risk Register for Civil emergencies.
So it is especially timely that the BBC just the BBC-pandemic-App on the iOS App Store and Google Play.
This free app is part of the largest experiment of its kind, a “citizen science” experiment, to spread the aims, a virtual pandemic – outbreak of a simulated infectious disease around the country as a whole.
It sounds like to want to do a strange thing, but, if successful, the BBC-pandemic could help to save lives when â€“ not if â€“ the next deadly pandemic spreads across the world.
With international air traffic to over four billion flights in the last year alone, the ending of a flu pandemic is reaching its pretty much impossible these days, but the BBC-pandemic App helps a team of mathematical epidemiologists from the University of Cambridge and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine ” to predict how a virus might spread in the UK and, crucially, to test what could be done to slow it down.
The problem with the pandemic flu virus is that they arrive unannounced, in contrast to the seasonal flu we experience every winter.
The seasonal flu can be deadly, and symptoms from Australia show that in this year a bad one, but at least we get a heads-up., of our southern neighbors for several months in advance
This is the critical time necessary to receive a vaccine, tailor-made and produced in sufficient quantity to vaccinate key workers and those most vulnerable.
But every now and again, the world of animals is a strain of the flu virus creates’ve seen, the people never – we have little protection from our immune system, or enough time to have a vaccine before the virus has begun to spread.
The 2009 pandemic was generally flu known as pig, because the human viruses contained genes of swine influenza virus. The devastating Spanish flu pandemic caused by a virus, which seems to have originated from birds.
The planning for a further pandemic, the best defense that we have, to the vaccine-administered technology to catch up. And the is can help, where everyone in the UK, by downloading the BBC-pandemic-App.
Once downloaded, users will be prompted with basic questions such as age and employment status.
Then the app is tracking the user’s approximate position, the GPS is in kilometers each hour just for 24 hours – but only in the next square. Privacy and data protection is taken very seriously by the team.
At the end of the 24 hours, there are a couple of questions about the nature of the face-to-face-contacts the user is formed at this time.
And that’s it. Simple, but enough to real data, the researchers can use to predict the spread of a real outbreak.
The challenge is, you would download like 10,000 UK-wide, the app and join.
This has never been done before, in order for everyone to participate, participation in groundbreaking research.
The results documentation will be shown in the BBC-pandemic on BBC Four next year, presented by UCL mathematician Dr Hannah Fry, and emergency medic Dr Javid Abdelmoneim.
To download the app go to the App Store or Google Play and search for “BBC-pandemic”.
There is much more information on the bbc.co.uk/pandemic. And for those who do not have a smartphone, it is an online questionnaire on the website, so that everyone can participate.