Case Study

Covid-19 Data Research through Web & Apps

This survey is intended to provide further information about why Bangladeshis may be particularly at risk for COVID-19. We will only ask for your year of birth and postcode but no other identifying information. Professor Gillian Bentley, Dept of Anthropology of Durham University is working with Tech ICS on this project.

The Client

We propose to build a Covid symptom App and associated website targeted specifically at British-Bangladeshis, and Bangladeshis in their home country, to address why this ethnic minority group in the UK is more susceptible to contracting COVID-19, and to having worse outcomes once infected. 

While existing data have clearly shown the increased risk to Black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups from COVID-19, and identified many socioeconomic and health risk variables, we lack sufficiently detailed data on these, and other less visible risk factors, to be able discriminate between these risks and analyze group data in depth. 

Covid-19 Data Research through Web & Apps | Tech ICS Case Studies
Covid-19 Data Research through Web & Apps | Tech ICS Case Studies

Situation - What Tech ICS did

Building a website, android and IoS apps. 

We therefore propose developing an app and web-based survey to collect data on COVID-19 symptoms among Bangladeshi individuals who have, or have had, COVID-19.  The app will also allow reporting of symptoms for deceased individuals. We focus on Bangladeshis because: i) they are among the most socioeconomically vulnerable of migrants in the UK, ii) existing research could assist in interpreting new data relating to COVID-19, iii) we have collaborative expertise in researching migrant Bangladeshis, and iv) the ability to collect data from Bangladesh which could help with interpretations.  Data suggest influences from the developmental environment could mitigate COVID-19 risk. 

For example, higher exposure to pathogens during development may prime the immune system to resist corona virus, while having lower levels of androgens (also affected by development) could mitigate risk by modulating cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2. These developmental factors may explain differential risk among different migrant generations of British-Bangladeshis, and why COVID-19 cases and mortality are lower than expected in Bangladesh (and other LMICs).  By including questions on migrant generation and developmental environments, our App will allow us to address these intriguing questions further. 

Challenge - People and Culture

Language barriers and information technology use

We will design a mobile app and website containing a Covid symptom survey specifically targeting British-Bangladeshis and Bangladeshis living in Sylhet, northeast Bangladesh (from where most British-Bangladeshis originate) in order to address issues of susceptibility in this population.  The project is a collaboration between medical/biological anthropologists with extensive experience working with the Bangladeshi community.

The symptom survey has parallels with the ZOE/King’s College App to enable comparisons, but also contains questions about socioeconomic and demographic factors linked to increased vulnerability among Bangladeshis, together with less well-recognised issues such as migration and developmental histories outlined further here.  

Covid-19 Data Research through Web & Apps | Tech ICS Case Studies
Covid-19 Data Research through Web & Apps | Tech ICS Case Studies

The Result - Value Delivered

Details to be added. Project on-going. 

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