Johns Hopkins University has announced the launch of the COVID-19 Testing Insights Initiative, a one-stop resource hub that fills the void of publicly-available information about COVID-19 testing data and offers critical insights, resources, and expert analysis about COVID-19 testing around the nation.
In the coming weeks and months, viral tests for the presence of COVID-19 infection as well as serological tests for antibodies and possible immunity will be critical to measure the spread of the disease. Governments, businesses, and families will rely on data from these tests as well as answers to questions about testing capacity as they make decisions about the path forward. However, local testing data are not currently publicly available, and a comprehensive set of these data—paired with expert analysis and guidance—does not exist in one place. The Testing Insights Initiative aims to fill this void.
Through dynamic, continuously updated data visualizations, the Testing Insights Initiative offers a new, intuitive way to view and understand key data and insights to inform public policies and responses to the pandemic. The new initiative will be housed on the existing Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center webpage, an established resource for the public, policymakers, and the media about COVID-19 that has been viewed more than 400 million times in less than two months and linked to by more than 8,000 other websites.
"Through the COVID-19 Testing Insights Initiative, Johns Hopkins will provide the comprehensive view of the testing landscape needed to guide effective policy decisions and shape our collective path to recovery," said Ron Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University. "We are deeply grateful to our partners in academia and government who have helped launch this effort in record time, and to our steadfast supporters at Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, whose vision and commitment help us serve the public and save lives in communities around the world."
Comprehensive data on #COVID19 testing is urgently needed. With support from @BloombergDotOrg and @SNForg, we've launched a new effort to source and share testing data to help government, businesses, and families make decisions about the path forward. https://t.co/XZFtSfL8Rl— Johns Hopkins University (@JohnsHopkins) April 29, 2020
Visualizations will chart trends in the data and measure testing capacity and results, as well as the efficacy of policy responses in real time. The new initiative will include COVID-19 testing trends for each U.S. state, a tracker following the development and approval of serology tests, and frequently asked questions about COVID-19 testing. Following the initiative's launch, the site will quickly expand to include analyses of countries around the world. The site will be continuously updated as new data become available.
"The development and implementation of viral and serological tests are only half the battle," said Jennifer Nuzzo, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "The data from these tests must play a large role in decisions about our future, yet a complete set of these data are not currently publicly available. This initiative will fill that gap and provide essential insights to the public health community."
Policymakers from across the country, including at the federal level, have sought a centralized hub for information and data about testing as they evaluate plans to re-open economies and craft policy responses to counter the spread of the disease. The new Testing Insights Initiative will provide such a resource and help guide leaders as they consider how and when to re-open.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented public health and economic crises," said Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). "This new initiative exemplifies what we need most in this moment: coherent, factual, and aggregated information to help inform an appropriate, unified, national response that draws on expertise from across the public, private, philanthropic, and non-profit sectors."
The initiative is the result of programmatic support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation as long-term philanthropic partners of the university.
"Comprehensive testing is essential to reopening the U.S. economy as safely and responsibly as possible," said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP and three-term mayor of New York City. "But right now, elected officials don't always have the up-to-date information on local testing capacity and results that they need. Our partnership with Johns Hopkins will close a major gap in the data, empowering more leaders to make decisions based on science."
Added Andreas Dracopoulos, co-president of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation: "Accurate and timely information will be the foundation of the myriad decisions that will have to be made—both by world leaders and by each of us individually—as we move toward recovery. We are grateful for Johns Hopkins University's leadership in this global crisis, and are proud to support this expansion of its efforts to offer comprehensive data in a fair, ethical, efficient, and effective way."
The Testing Insights Initiative reflects an interdisciplinary collaboration between several groups at Johns Hopkins University: the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Applied Physics Laboratory, Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) in the Whiting School of Engineering, the Berman Institute of Bioethics, and the Centers for Civic Impact, which is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.