Studying the spread of a virtual, safe epidemic

1 April 2021

Vital information on how COVID-19 spreads though communities will soon be gleaned from a real-life trial of The University of Queensland-led Safe Blues program and app.

The mobile phones of volunteers at the University of Auckland will be ‘infected’ with virtual tokens from 1 May 2021, with the digital ‘pathogens’ spreading the way a contagious disease would.

UQ’s Associate Professor Yoni Nazarathy said he was thrilled the trial would be rolled out, as it would offer valuable and timely data for COVID-19 policymakers dealing with the pandemic.

“After many months of research, our ‘virus-spreading’ app is finally kicking off – this virtual, safe ‘virus’ experiment is the first of its kind,” Dr Nazarathy said.

“Between 300 and 1,100 participants – students and staff – will spread virtual virus-like tokens in Auckland, allowing us to emulate how COVID-19 policy adjustments affect viral spread in real time.

Read full story on UQ News