A new collaboration between CIDACS-Fiocruz in Brazil, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Pakistan, and Oxford announced last year has received further funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Data Sciences Grand Challenges Global Call-to-Action.
Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. The funding will enable researchers from Fiocruz in Brazil to develop a framework for the re-use of large clinical and administrative datasets to enable comparative analysis of COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness in Brazil and in Pakistan, with colleagues at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre there. The goal is to improve pandemic responses and promote data-driven evidence generation and foster South-South collaborations.
Monitoring vaccinations across different settings is crucial for containing pandemics. However, comparative analysis of large health datasets in different scenarios is challenging due to concerns around safety and reproducibility and the loss of the context in which the data was collected, which can affect research results.
'Our research is vital to help health managers and policymakers to make informed decisions and monitor the pandemic based on data from their own regions. By bringing the data into OHDSI (Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics) to be mapped, we can provide real world evidence of how the vaccines are working in these countries, particularly in vulnerable populations.'
Sara Khalid, Associate Professor of Health Informatics at NDORMS, who is leading the initiative from Oxford said: 'This research is vital to help health managers and policymakers from different regions to make informed decisions and monitor the pandemic based on local in-context data. By leveraging recent advances in health data sciences, from harmonisation tools (e.g. OMOP) to AI-powered analytics pipelines, and our collaboration with the OHDSI community, this work can contribute real world evidence on how effectively COVID-19 vaccines are working in various countries, particularly in vulnerable populations.'