The digital transformation offers significant opportunities to advance infectious disease research through the adoption of digital data practices and computer-assisted methodologies. Novel data sets and advanced technologies enable a deeper exploration of infectious diseases, ranging from understanding the pathogens responsible to comprehending the complexities of global disease transmission. This is particularly pertinent given the enduring presence of severe endemic diseases and those of pandemic potential, particularly originating from zoonotic infectious diseases.
Accordingly, harmonizing diverse data resources scattered among different silos yields valuable insights into the complex interplay of multiple factors that influence the emergence and spread of infectious diseases, thereby promoting scholarly discourse and knowledge exchange across various research domains and stakeholders. However, to fully capitalize on these opportunities, researchers need collaborative data platforms and tools that allow for effective operation at the intersection of different fields. The project "DiDEX: Digital Data and Experimental Spaces for Strengthening Infectious Disease Research in the One Health nexus" is designed to address this need.
DiDEX aims to establish a digital data and experimental space to strengthen interdisciplinary research towards a better understanding of infectious disease dynamics and outbreak risks in the One Health nexus. Its central feature is a novel geographic information system (GIS) that brings together, harmonizes, and processes health and open socio-ecological context data, primarily designed for epidemiological analyses. To facilitate its transfer into practice, DiDEX's objectives are
- to (re-)evaluate user needs from different sectors and optimize the usability of the system
- to develop a data integration interface in line with common data practice of different fields of infectious disease research
to create technical interfaces for the utilization of harmonized data, such as through a collaborative data repository or interoperability with commonly used analysis software