Professor Ronan Lyons is co-director of SAIL (Secure Anonymised Information Linkage) Databank based within Swansea University Medical School.
Containing billions of person-based records, SAIL Databank is a rich and trusted population data resource. It improves lives by providing researchers with secure, linkable and anonymised data that can be accessed and analysed from anywhere in the world.
In an interview with Rachel Burden, who presents 5 Live’s Breakfast Show, Ronan speaks of how SAIL Databank is being used to inform the Welsh Government’s strategic response to the pandemic.
The rigorous checks and balances that SAIL Databank has implemented to protect personal data means that no identifiable information is ever available to researchers.
The advanced technological platform that underpins SAIL Databank (SeRP – Secure eResearch Platform) does however enable researchers to access this vital data via a strict approvals process that involves both the scientific community and a lay public panel to ensure all research is valid, world-class and in the public interest.
These protocols have led to SAIL Databank becoming an important tool to combat this Coronavirus.
The creation of the two Welsh population cohort created from the Wales Multimorbidity Cohort that will track the epidemic across the Welsh population and compare outcomes in 2020 with those from 2016-2019, reporting to Welsh Government’s COVID19 Technical Advisory Group and onwards to SAGE. Some analyses are not possible to conduct in other countries.
The data from the ZOE Covid-19 Symptom Study app, in partnership with BREATHE – The Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health, and the COVIDENCE UK study, in partnership with Queen Mary University London, are now entrusted to SAIL Databank.
These UK-wide or relevant COVID-19 initiatives are having a transformative impact on the intelligence underlying the UK’s response to the outbreak.
[UPDATE: 29th June 2020] ‘The SAIL Databank in Wales is leading the way in the number of linked data research projects supporting COVID-19 response that are active in the UK, highlighting the benefits of Welsh Government investment in health and social care research infrastructure.’ – exert from Welsh Government’s TAC Summary on 12th June – //://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-06/advice-summary-12-june-2020.pdf
BY CHRIS ROBERTS, SWANSEA UNIVERSITY
To listen to the interview on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast Show //://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000jhgd (from 1:24:40)
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SAIL Databank is one of the nine Centres of Excellence based in Population Data Science at Swansea University Medical School