The webinar about COST Action HARMONY was presented by Polychronis Kostoulas. Polychronis is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Artificial Intelligence with a research focus on BLCMs for evaluation of diagnostics, true prevalence estimation, proof of disease freedom and early warning systems.
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 HARMONY 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.
For those who could not attend and are interested in this webinar: The presentation was recorded and can be found on our SOUND control youtube channel :