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Published Online: 2 February 2021

Translating Scientific Knowledge to Government Decision Makers Has Crucial Importance in the Management of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication: Population Health Management
Volume 24, Issue Number 1

Abstract

In times of epidemics and humanitarian crises, it is essential to translate scientific findings into digestible information for government policy makers who have a short time to make critical decisions. To predict how far and fast the disease would spread across Hungary and to support the epidemiological decision-making process, a multidisciplinary research team performed a large amount of scientific data analysis and mathematical and socioeconomic modeling of the COVID-19 epidemic in Hungary, including modeling the medical resources and capacities, the regional differences, gross domestic product loss, the impact of closing and reopening elementary schools, and the optimal nationwide screening strategy for various virus-spreading scenarios and R metrics. KETLAK prepared 2 extensive reports on the problems identified and suggested solutions, and presented these directly to the National Epidemiological Policy-Making Body. The findings provided crucial data for the government to address critical measures regarding health care capacity, decide on restriction maintenance, change the actual testing strategy, and take regional economic, social, and health differences into account. Hungary managed the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic with low mortality rate. In times of epidemics, the formation of multidisciplinary research groups is essential for policy makers. The establishment, research activity, and participation in decision-making of these groups, such as KETLAK, can serve as a model for other countries, researchers, and policy makers not only in managing the challenges of COVID-19, but in future pandemics as well.

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Information & Authors

Information

Published In

cover image Population Health Management
Population Health Management
Volume 24Issue Number 1February 2021
Pages: 35 - 45
PubMed: 32882160

History

Published online: 2 February 2021
Published in print: February 2021
Published ahead of print: 2 September 2020

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Authors

Affiliations

Katalin Gombos*
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
Róbert Herczeg*
Szentágothai Research Centre, Bioinformatics Research Group, Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
Bálint Erőss*
Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
Sándor Zsolt Kovács*
Institute for Regional Studies, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Pécs, Hungary.
Annamária Uzzoli*
Institute for Regional Studies, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Budapest, Hungary.
Tamás Nagy*
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
Szabolcs Kiss
Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
Centre for Translational Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.
Zsolt Szakács
Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
Marcell Imrei
Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
Andrea Szentesi#
Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
Centre for Translational Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.
Anikó Nagy#
Heim Pál National Pediatric Institute, Budapest, Hungary.
Attila Fábián#
University of Sopron, Alexandre Lamfalussy Faculty of Economics, Institute for International and Regional Economics, Sopron, Hungary.
Péter Hegyi# [email protected]
Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
Centre for Translational Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.
Attila Gyenesei# [email protected]
Szentágothai Research Centre, Bioinformatics Research Group, Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary.
Clinical Research Centre, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland.

Notes

*
Contributed equally as first authors.
#
Contributed equally as corresponding authors.
Address correspondence to: Péter Hegyi, MD, PhD, DSc, University of Pécs, KETLAK Consortium, Centre for Translational Medicine, 12 Szigeti út, Pécs 7624, Hungary [email protected]
Attila Gyenesei, MSc, PhD, University of Pécs, KETLAK Consortium, Bioinformatics Research Group, Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility, Szentágothai Research Centre, 20 Ifjúság útja, Pécs 7624, Hungary [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Funding Information

This study was supported by a European Regional Development Fund (GINOP-2.3.2-15-2016-00048 – STAY ALIVE to PH) and by a Human Resources Development Operational Programme Grant, (EFOP 3.6.2-16-2017-00006 – LIVE LONGER to PH) within the framework of the Széchenyi 2020 Programme. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.

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