The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an unprecedented burden on global healthcare systems, particularly in under-resourced communities. The COVID-19 death rate in Brazil made it the second worst hit country in the world in 2020, and South Asia, home to a quarter of the world's population, is a COVID-19 hotspot. South Asian ethnicity is associated with a high risk of severe COVID-19 and related mortality however, there has been little or no real-world COVID-19 data analysis from South Asia or Brazil to explain the risk factors.
New funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (the foundation) brings together researchers from the University of Oxford, with CIDACS (the Brazilian centre for big health data) and the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) in Pakistan. Each institute holds large numbers of health records from patients in Brazil and Pakistan and these databases will be used to analyse the natural history of COVID-19 and characterise the disease to help inform decision-making around the care of hospitalised patients.
The initiative is led by Dr Sara Khalid, Senior Research Fellow in Biomedical Data Science and Health Informatics, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS).