AXA to partner with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine on dengue outbreak forecasting project


AXA UK and the AXA Research Fund are collaborating with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to develop a Global observatory for vector-borne disease outbreaks focusing on the impact of climate on dengue outbreaks.

Using data and climate information, the Lab will develop new forecasting systems to predict outbreaks up to three months in advance helping better plan response.

AXA UK and the AXA Research Fund (AXA’s global philanthropic initiative) have joined forces with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Hereafter referred to as LSHTM) on a project to develop a global observatory for vector-borne disease outbreaks. This includes an outbreak forecasting system that will give a direct and immediate measurement of climate and climate change’s impact on the risk of dengue outbreaks and a wide range of other diseases.

Vector-borne diseases – human illnesses caused by parasites, viruses and bacteria transmitted by living organisms such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas – account for more than 17% of infectious diseases and around 700,000 deaths every year. Climate change is worsening the transmission dynamics and geographic spread of these diseases. Dengue is the most prevalent and fastest growing vector-borne disease, with urbanisation and climate change driving its expansion to over 120 countries and putting around 2.25 billion people at risk.

The observatory will develop a new real-time database of dengue cases from more than 50 countries, collating information to help the development of flexible forecasting models. These will provide early warning of potential outbreaks by sharing forecasts with governments, scientists, and members of the public. The new forecasting systems will focus first on outbreaks in countries where dengue is most prevalent, then issue warnings to others including in Europe and North America, where dengue is currently expanding. At present, there is no global database that tracks the current dengue situation or current outbreaks.

The project will be coordinated by Dr Oliver Brady from LSHTM, who has over a decade of experience in modelling mosquito-transmitted diseases. AXA’s network of infectious disease and modelling experts will contribute, together with collaborators from the World Health Organisation.

Julia d'Astorg, Head of AXA Research Fund commented, “Accelerating science on emerging risks and making it available to help handle key societal challenges is the core of the AXA Research Fund mission. This innovative partnership with the LSHTM will bring a significant contribution to our ability to tackle the increasing concern about dengue, one of the many impacts of climate change on human health.”

Tara Foley, Chief Executive Officer at AXA UK and Ireland added, “As an insurer, we understand the importance of protecting people’s health and what matters most to them. This project emphasises our commitment to risk prevention, not just via our products and services but also through our support for global causes that make a real difference to people around the world.”

Dr Oliver Brady, Associate Professor at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said, “Climate sensitive emerging infectious diseases present some of the biggest future threats to humans. By building the data infrastructure to track and predict outbreaks in real-time we can change how countries respond, enabling a shift from reacting to epidemics to preventing them.”

Authored by AXA


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