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Nigam Shah: A researcher turns to data to fight the COVID-19 virus

An expert in bioinformatics describes how better information and modeling can help caregivers stay a step ahead of the new virus.

A healthcare worker oversees an elderly patient in their home

Better data can help. | Reuters Pictures/David Ryder

Like much of the world, data scientist Nigam Shah’s life changed completely in just a matter of weeks.

He has been ordered to stay home from his lab, but rather than sit idle he says he has organized an online army of several dozen elite data scientists who are using their knowledge and data skills to learn more about the virus and to model its impact on both his home hospital as well as the local health care infrastructure.

Shah’s hope is that better information and better modeling will help policymakers, public health officials, hospitals and caregivers to stay one step ahead of the most serious public health challenge in at least a century. Learn more on Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything podcast with Russ Altman