TAMPA, Florida – – TAMPA, Florida – A researcher at the University of South Florida is working on methods of studying Ebola virus outbreaks to study the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Andrew Kramer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at USF. He said USF researchers and staff at the University of Georgia are trying to understand how the geography of the human population leads to the spread of disease and the impact of government policies, including travel restrictions.
Kramer said his focus is on the early stages of the outbreak in Asia.
“When people travel, two of the biggest factors that drive are how far apart two places are and how many people live in those places,” said Kramer. “So people are more likely to go to a big city than to a small town in the country, and they are more likely to go to a nearby city. And so, this type drives many general mobility patterns, but when you’re sick it can change your behavior “Where are you likely to go, how likely you are to move, and what we’re doing is we’re actually using the data from the disease. So the observations,” he said.
Kramer said they are using a similar method to study the spread of Ebola. He is actively involved in research to find out which areas are most at risk.
“The goal is to create a model that can be used early in the disease when you don’t have a lot of information. COVID was moving so fast that it exceeded our ability to provide useful information there. Fortunately, Ebola is spreading not so fast so we can be a bit more helpful on OK. It popped up in this town, now you need to take care of these two places, ”he said.
Kramer said they want to build a model that can help make early predictions about a disease it might be heading for next.
“There will be more diseases. When an outbreak begins, decisions need to be made. You only have a limited amount of information to use to make these decisions, and as a scientist, my goal is to get the maximum benefit from this information that we can, ”he said.
The new study is funded by an NSF Rapid Response Grant.