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Dstl develops interactive Covid-19 risk tool


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has developed an online tool to help decision makers and the public understand the risks around Covid-19.

It involves an interactive graphic that goes through different pathways that can be taken by the virus in being transferred between two people, and provides variables such as the activity, location, ventilation levels, distances between people and surface types. Colour coding helps to illustrate the relevant level of risk.

It also looks at what the risks are in situations such as when eating out in a small restaurant and singing in a choir, and how much difference it makes if a window is open.

It also conveys the uncertainties and the disagreement that exists between experts about how the virus behaves, how it is transmitted, and how we can best reduce the likelihood of transmission through personal and social measures.

The tool has been built on top of an underlying mathematical framework conceived by Dstl for combining the factors that affect transmission. These were used as the basis for eliciting the data used.

Combining complexities

Dstl’s Dr Simon Parker said: “One of the real strengths of this approach is that it allows the many complexities of virus transmission to be combined in an integrated way. It provides a system-level view of the individual-to-individual transmission.

“The interactive tool allows people to explore how the different factors influence the component parts and also the overall strength of transmission.”

Dstl said the tool should support decision makers and the public to make informed decisions about how to reduce virus transmission in different contexts.

Image from iStock, Altoclassic

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