Swinburne University of Technology has partnered with Arq Group to launch an online tool to help track the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia.
The goal is to have five million Australians fill out a symptom tracker daily at www.beatcovid19now.org.
The survey tool is designed for people who are healthy or unwell, including those with symptoms of COVID-19.
Australians are being asked to provide their postcode and fill in the survey, but are not required to include any other information that would otherwise identify them.
The symptom tracker technology was developed by Arq Group, a leading Australian digital services provider, which has volunteered its services and expertise to help beat COVID-19.
The science behind the tracker was developed by Swinburne Professors Richard Osborne and Matthew Bailes, who combined their expertise in public health and astrophysics, and organised a hackathon to prototype the concept.
Researchers hope to take the initial data and further develop the tool to make it available internationally to support the global effort to combat COVID-19 pandemic and other future health crises.
“Reliable and accurate data is more important now than ever, to ensure we know as much as we can about this disease and its spread, so that the authorities can take appropriate steps to help beat it. Filling out the survey only takes a few minutes a day and provides vital information to experts battling the virus,” said Prof. Richard Osborne.
“This platform is not about providing medical advice but giving a valuable new tool to experts trying to track and contain this virus. Anyone who is concerned that they may have been exposed to the virus should contact the National Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 020 080 and follow the advice of government medical experts.”
Learning more about the virus will give researchers a better chance of stopping the spread sooner, said Arq Group chief Tristan Sternson.
“We believe that by bringing together digital experts and researchers, we can do our bit to help governments at all levels manage this crisis. While we are all practising social distancing, we can take just a few minutes out of our day to fill in the survey to help fight the spread, flatten the curve and save lives,” he said.
Swinburne acting deputy vice-chancellor (research and enterprise) Professor Bronwyn Fox believes the collaboration between researchers and industry experts will make a tremendous contribution to helping Australian health authorities combat the pandemic.
“The symptom tracker was developed by Swinburne researchers, industry partners and volunteers in a hackathon in less than two weeks. It’s an inspiring example of how communities can rally together virtually to create new technologies to benefit mankind,” she said.
Will you help track COVID-19? Why not fill in the survey at www.beatcovid19now.org?
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