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Covid-19 research: Billmonitor software developer helping to model the disease reproduction number, R


We were incredibly proud to hear that one of our software developers, Jake Stockwin, has been asked by Dr Robin Thompson, Junior Research Fellow in Mathematical Epidemiology at Christ Church, University of Oxford, to help with some new research into modelling the disease reproduction number, R.

This builds on previous research where Jake and Dr Thompson adapted a standard model to account for imported cases, i.e. people bringing the disease into a population from outside. This is something Jake was working on before he joined Billmonitor, and he created an online app 'EpiEstimApp', which allows policy-makers to easily run the advanced models, along with this research paper.

Research Paper


Of the work, Jake says:

“I have really enjoyed getting back to my mathematical roots and to be working on something so relevant and important during the current outbreak. I am grateful to Billmonitor for being so supportive and allowing me the time to work on this.”

Jake and Dr Thompson are now working on improving the model even further. The old model assumes that each infected person will have the same infection rate. However, with Covid-19, anyone travelling into the country from abroad is asked to self-isolate, meaning they are much less likely to pass on the disease. Therefore, modelling R must be done separately for these individuals and the wider population. Jake and Dr Thompson intend to show that not accounting for this could cause the models to make incorrect estimates of R and will propose an updated model to fix this. They hope to have a new paper published in the coming months.

Klaus Henke, Managing Director of Billmonitor, says:

“I always knew that we have a fantastic software team, but the fact that one of them has been involved in modelling the ‘R’ before Boris made it famous is just unbelievable. He has been asked to help update the modelling to take account of COVID-19 dynamics and we are proud to see him being involved! Now we are waiting for the updated research paper…”

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See you soon,

The Billmonitor team