Panelist, Session 3: Data for Emergencies
Formerly a Programme Leader at the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge, Sheila M. Bird is Honorary Professor at Edinburgh University’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. Bird’s statistical research interests have included: vCJD and BSE epidemiology (having estimated, by birth-cohort and gender, UK dietary exposure to BSE); incidence, progression and projection of the late sequelae of blood-borne viruses (such HIV and Hepatitis C); recently co-directing analyses for the Expert Report to the Infected Blood Inquiry: Statistics; record-linkage studies to elucidate and mitigate Scotland’s heroin injector epidemic (including drugs-related deaths soon after release from prison (or after hospital-discharge) and methadone-clients’ opioid-specific deaths; and cost-efficient designs using record-linkage for underpinning or evaluating public policies such as Scotland’s Hepatitis C Virus Action Plans or National Naloxone Programme.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic illustrates just how fast research-teams learn about a new viral infection – its immunology, epidemiology -who is most at risk of transmitting infection or of hospitalization, statistical modelling (eg mitigation strategies), vaccine development, large-scale randomized studies to evaluate the efficacy of existing or new treatments or effectiveness of vaccines. The Royal Statistical Society’s Diagnostic Tests Working Group Report (June 2021) highlights matters of study design, regulation and transparency.