In order to predict the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands and support decision-making about response measures, it is necessary to understand the epidemiology, transmission and medical course of the disease. Such understanding is needed so that the burden on the healthcare system can be managed, for example. In the INCODA project, we are therefore studying groups at high risk of becoming seriously ill following infection with COVID-19. The study involves linking Statistics Netherlands microdata and CovidPredict data. We are also looking at whether it is useful to combine medical characteristics and clinical parameters with geographic, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Ahti and Amsterdam UMC (AMC and VUmc sites) will be working on this project until the end of 2021. ZonMw (Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development) is funding the project as part of the Treating and Preventing Coronavirus programme.
A differentiated approach to predicting progression of the COVID-19 pandemic
The response to COVID-19 has entered a new phase. We are moving from a uniform, nationwide approach to a differentiated one. A differentiated approach requires a better understanding of epidemiology, transmission and medical course of the disease and the burden it places on the healthcare system. Such insight is needed in order to predict the progression of the pandemic and support decision-making about response measures.
Not enough is currently known about the relationship between COVID-19 mortality and serious morbidity, and patients’ geographic, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. The reason being that the relevant bodies of data have not yet been brought together. The prevention measures taken may therefore have been applied more widely and strictly than necessary. That imposes unnecessary limitations on the freedom of citizens and has a negative effect on their health, as well as on social and economic activity. Looking to the future, policy-makers will also need to develop a vaccination policy. INCODA’s insights can play a supporting role in prioritising high-risk population groups in the Netherlands.
Combining data to map at-risk groups
INCODA aims to identify groups at high risk of becoming seriously ill following infection with COVID-19. In addition, we are researching whether it is worthwhile combining medical characteristics and clinical parameters with geographic, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and whether policy-makers can use such data combinations to inform decision-making on secondary prevention measures and the selection of treatment methods.
Ahti is pursuing those objectives by:
- Combining clinical and IC admission data on COVID-19 patients (CovidPredict) with Statistics Netherlands data
- Identifying at-risk groups based on a multi-variable profile and developing models for predicting the risk of COVID-19 infection taking a serious course
- Researching potential interventions
- Drawing up a plan for securing the INCODA dataset and its substantive results for future research
The analysis results will be available for use in the context of COVID-19 management initiatives while the project is still in progress. We are striving for integration and alignment with the existing knowledge infrastructure.
A multidisciplinary advisory board is being set up within INCODA, comprised of intensivists, infectologists, epidemiologists, Statistics Netherlands personnel, and researchers with experience in cohort research, learning care systems and public health. To ensure cooperation and communication with relevant stakeholders, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is involved and we are consulting the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD).
Status of the INCODA project
The partners have been awarded a grant from ZonMw and the project is underway. It will run until the end of 2021.
- Amsterdam UMC – VUmc site (CovidPredict team, Project Leader Dr PWG Elbers)
- Amsterdam UMC – AMC site (Department of Global Health and Infectious Disease, Project Leader Frank Cobelens)
Want more information or do you have a question? Please contact Rachel van Beem (Head of Projects).