Date: Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time
Join the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID) for another event in our interdisciplinary webinar series: Synergies in Infectious Disease Modelling for Public Health..
The Synergies Series harnesses the knowledge of experts from several disciplines and nations. Collaborators share research evidence, context-based insights, information on data availability, and practical tools to develop better infectious disease models and evidence-based public health policies for the control of infectious diseases. Together, participants raise questions of interest to public health that modelling can contribute to. The series begins with topics on COVID-19, with the potential to grow.
Despite significant progress in recent decades, the global burden of infectious diseases remains high. Emerging infectious pathogens pose an ongoing and likely increasing threat to public health, as the factors influencing their emergence and spread (e.g. ecological, environmental, demographic changes, global travel and commerce) appear inexorable and entrenched in modern life.
Emerging infectious diseases can spread dramatically and lead to large-scale outbreaks, as seen in pandemics of influenza H1N1, MERS, SARS-CoV-1 and, most recently, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Public health policy-makers are uniquely challenged in planning control measures for the fast-spreading and ‘stealthy’ COVID-19, but can draw on some important resources—infectious disease epidemiology and a substantial body of research from China. Research on the epidemiological characteristics of COVID-19 provides critical insights into the complex relationships among hosts and infectious agents to understand pathogen transmission within the community. Particularly, data-driven epidemiological parameters are essential inputs of statistical simulation and mathematical modelling for public health.
Dr. Benjamin Cowling, Professor and Division Head of Epidemiology and Biostatistics with the School of Public Health at Hong Kong University (HKU), presents an overview of the natural history of COVID-19 and shares recent findings from his epidemiological research. He will discuss the known disease dynamics at the population level and current understanding of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in outdoor and indoor settings based on data from China. Dr. Cowling draws from experience as a co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control at HKU SPH to reflect on the various public health measures and their impact on suppressing COVID-19 transmission in Hong Kong.
Access instructions will be emailed to all registrants and posted on this page prior to the event.
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Dr. Benjamin Cowling, Professor and Division Head of Epidemiology and Biostatistics with the School of Public Health at Hong Kong University (HKU)
Co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control at the School of Public Health (UHK)
After graduating with a PhD in statistics from the University of Warwick, Ben Cowling spent a year at Imperial College London before moving to the University of Hong Kong in 2004. He is currently Professor and head of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong, and co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control.
He is Editor-in-Chief of Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, and an Associate Editor of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. He conducts research into the epidemiology of influenza and other respiratory viruses. His research team has characterized how easily seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses can spread in households, and the effectiveness of measures to reduce the risk of infection and transmission including vaccination and non-pharmaceutical interventions. His recent research has focused on vaccination strategies in older adults, and immune responses to repeated influenza vaccination. Since early 2020 he has conducted research on the epidemiology and control of COVID-19 including a series of highly cited publications in NEJM, Science and Nature Medicine. He has authored more than 450 peer-reviewed journal publications to date.