COST ACTION CA18208
Novel tools for test evaluation and disease prevalence estimation
DESCRIPTION OF THE ACTION
Epidemiological studies assessing disease prevalence are critically important to both the identification and control of pathogens in humans and animals (including zoonosis and food borne outbreaks).
However, countries typically collect data in a way that is best suited for their specific needs, and non-standardized sampling strategies and diagnostic methods produce prevalence estimates that cannot be directly compared. Hence, the need for harmonization, which has been often highlighted in reports of relevant EU institutions, like the ECDC and EFSA. Despite the availability of appropriate statistical methods – Bayesian Latent Class Models (BLCMs) – that adjust for the imperfect accuracy of the diagnostic process and produce comparable prevalence estimates, the number of research studies and scientific reports that use them is small compared to the number of instances that use of such methods would have been optimal.
The objective of this proposal is to coordinate and promote the implementation of BLCMs through networking and knowledge transfer between BLCM experts and researchers working in statistics, epidemiology, diagnostics and population health. Specifically, we will (a) increase the visibility and collaboration of BLCM researchers, (b) promote stakeholder engagement, (c) provide training and networking opportunities for ECIs and ITC researchers, (d) create separate training opportunities for policy makers and stakeholders, (e) establish a free online BLCMs repository, (f) set up an International society for BLCMs and (g) organize the first international conference of this society. The strongest asset of this proposal is its strong interdisciplinary nature and broad network of proposers.