COVID-19 Pandemic Research Fueled by MIDAS Grant Yields Further Funding

June 14, 2022

Contact: Jon Meerdink, meerdink@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR – Research on the COVID-19 pandemic funded in part by a Michigan Institute for Data Science grant has earned further funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Jacob Fisher and Dr. Yajuan Si of the Institute for Social Research received a Propelling Original Data Science (PODS) grant in a special round of funding in May 2020 to power their research. Using the funds, they worked to address missing data and selection bias in population studies related to the pandemic, helping to track infection rates through a variety of populations.

Based on the research conducted with this grant, U-M data scientists were better able to predict COVID-related trends, even without complete testing data available.

“Our method predicted rises (or falls) in hospitalizations seven to 10 days before they occurred,” wrote Dr. Si of her work in the Washington Post. “In contrast, official state statistics for positive cases in the area lagged our data by roughly a week.”

Based on this work, the team has received a $2.3 million grant from the NIH to continue their work on selection bias and data trends. Dr. Si plans to continue to develop her data analysis strategies with the funds, hoping to predict true viral incidence and immunity prevalence in selected communities.