Collaborative application to detect coronavirus cases throughout Brazil


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The engagement platform for citizenship Colab and the Epitrack, a data intelligence startup for disease monitoring and control, came together to help in the early identification of risk of coronavirus cases in Brazil.

Any citizen can download the Colab application for free on their cell phones and provide information about their own health status, to collectively build a large national risk map, which is available on the platform Brazil Without Corona.

The map provides two types of indicators: the estimate of coronavirus cases by territory, updated in real time, and a forecast of what can happen in up to seven days. The Colab team will also provide free spreadsheets for public managers who want to have access to detailed information on the territory in which they operate. Interested parties should contact the “I want to help” section at The information provided by Colab users will be public, but identities will be kept anonymous.

The action will help health agencies to predict the risks of contagion across Brazil and plan and anticipate actions to combat the spread of the new virus, with the opportunity to prioritize the most vulnerable regions.

“There is a big gap between the number of Brazilians infected by COVID-19 and the reported cases. This is because the patient is accounted for by the health system only when seeking medical assistance. But in that period of time between the onset of symptoms and notification the individual may have transmitted the virus to other people, “says Onicio Leal, co-founder of Epitrack, who is an epidemiologist, PhD in Public Health and a senior researcher in the Economics department at the University of Zurich.

The action of companies also shows that technology can be a tool for citizens to participate in the construction of an improvement in public health. The more people participate, the more the platform can contribute to a public health response.

The Colab application is already used by 300,000 Brazilians as a platform on which citizens can claim improvements and participate in decision-making where they live. There he is heard by the public administration. More than 100 city halls use Colab to exercise more efficient and collaborative management.

Participatory surveillance

In a scenario in which the early diagnosis of cases would help a lot to contain the rapid spread of the virus, citizen participation is an excellent resource for Brazil to understand the behavior of this epidemic and act to prevent and fight it.

“As we already work with citizenship and collaboration with governments, which are our clients, we decided to focus all our efforts on this action, so that the Colab platform is a means of participatory surveillance and that the population can contribute to generate data that will be of interest. extremely important for public management “, says Gustavo Maia, Colab’s CEO.

Scientific studies indicate that participatory surveillance by crowdsourcing platforms can anticipate the appearance of some outbreaks and epidemics by up to two weeks.

How to participate?

To participate, just download the Colab application on a smartphone (available for Android and IOS systems) and answer the “Brasil Sem Corona” questionnaire that will be available as soon as the application opens.
First, the user will inform if he is feeling well or not. If you say you are okay, you will be asked whether you have contacted someone who has the symptoms of COVID-19, which could also indicate a certain degree of risk, and if you live with an elderly person, to detect the risk of this group.

If the user says that he is not feeling well, he will answer a series of questions about symptoms and if he even went to the health system, which may be an indication that the symptoms are serious. The algorithm developed by Epitrack analyzes the combination of responses and organizes a heat map with the geographic location of users and the level of risk of being infected by COVID-19.

Through Colab it will also be possible to denounce the practice of abusive pricing of a basic product, event or irregularly opened trade, queues and agglomerations of people in hospitals and health centers and lack of food supply, medicines and basic products.

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