For Immediate Release
9th November 2022
Superspreading played key role in COVID 19 transmission in Ireland, study finds
Mathematical modelling shows up to 95% of infections arose from 20% of individuals
In a recently published paper in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society researchers at the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics have introduced a statistical model to analyse epidemic disease spread. The paper provides several new insights into the spread of COVID-19.
Analysing data from the Republic of Ireland in the second half of 2021, the researchers estimate that 75-95 per cent of expected secondary infections arose from 20 per cent of most infectious individuals.
Between 65-80 per cent of individuals are unlikely to pass on the disease, the study finds. This provides evidence that superspreading is a feature of COVID-19 during the timeframe under review.
The study was conducted using Bayesian mathematic modelling, a statistical method widely used in engineering, medicine, sport and law.
Nial Friel, Professor of Statistics at University College Dublin and a principal investigator at the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics, explains the significance of the study:
‘Understanding the mechanism of superspreading and modelling the spread of disease is vital to ensure that we are well placed to manage and respond to future epidemics. As such, improving our understanding of super-spreading dynamics may present opportunities for the management of COVID-19 and other endemic diseases. It is crucial therefore that surveillance data can identify potential superspreader events as early as possible so that targeted measures can have an impact on the reduction of the overall burden of infection.’
Read the full report here DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/rssa.12919
NOTES FOR EDITORS
J. Meagher and Nial Friel Assessing epidemic curves for evidence of superspreading Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A. (to appear).
Joe Meagher is a Postdoctoral researcher at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics. Nial Friel is Professor of Statistics at University College Dublin and a principal investigator at the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics
Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics
The Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics is one of Europe’s largest data analytics research organisations, with over 450 researchers, more than 80 industry partners and €100+ million in funding. Its research spans Fundamentals of Data Science, Sensing and Actuation, Scaling Algorithms, Model Building, Multi Modal Analysis, Data Engineering and Governance, Decision Making and Trustworthy AI.
Insight is made up of four host institutions at DCU, University of Galway, UCC and UCD. Insight’s partner sites are Maynooth University, TCD, Tyndall and UL.