Panelist, Session 3: Data for Emergencies
Ronan is Professor of Public Health at Swansea University, Honorary Consultant in Public Health with Public Health Wales NHS Trust and Adjunct Professor at Monash University, Australia. His research focuses on the use of routine data in cohorts, trials, and the evaluation of natural experiments and complex interventions. He was the principal investigator of the Medical Research Council (MRC) funded ‘Controlling COVID-19 through enhanced population surveillance and intervention (Con-COV): a platform approach. This brought together de-identified linked data from many different sources within Wales’ Trusted Research Environment – the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) system – www.saildatabank.com. The purpose of Con-COV was to conduct rapid analyses to inform policy and practice responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results were fed to the Welsh Government COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and onwards to many UK and international groups. There was widespread collaboration with analyses through other TREs across the UK. Professor Lyons is also Associate Director for the MRC’s Dementias Research Platform UK and a senior investigator in the Economic and Social Research Council funded Administrative Data Research Partnership and the National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research.
Research reduced the death toll from COVID-19 and can do so in other crises. Research identified promising treatments for the very ill, created the vaccines and tested these in human populations. Population data research identified those at highest risk, informing the prioritisation of the vaccine roll out and the use of anti-viral and other treatments.